Friday, November 12, 2021

Massachusetts Supreme Court to hear assisted suicide case.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In January 2020 the assisted suicide lobby appealed a Massachusetts Superior court decision which found that there was no right to assisted suicide. 

A few weeks ago, the Massachusetts Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in February 2022. 

The case concerns Dr Roger Kligler, who is living with prostate cancer and seeking death by assisted suicide and Dr Alan Schoenberg, who stated that he is willing to prescribe lethal drugs for Kligler to die by assisted suicide. 

Kligler and Schoenberg are arguing that criminally prosecuting a doctor for prescribing lethal drugs for assisted suicide to a competent terminally ill person is illegal under the Massachusetts state constitution.

At the time, of the lower court hearing, the Massachusetts Attorney General argued that this is a legislative not a judicial issue. 

The Massachusetts lower court decision found that there is no right to assisted suicide and it recognized the difficulty in accurate patient assessment to approve assisted suicide, which is an irreversible decision. The court challenged the concept that assisted suicide is a form of medical treatment and pointed out that even in Oregon the oversight of the law is questionable at best.

In its decision, the lower court explained why the Massachusetts prohibition on assisted suicide meets the rational basis for both due process and equal protection. Starting on Page 20 of the decision, the court gave clear reasons why assisted suicide should not be legalized.

This case is attempting to overturn the US Supreme Court Glucksberg decision which found that there was no right to assisted suicide but a State had the right to legislate on the issue.

EPC-USA is planning to present an Amicus brief to the Massachusetts Supreme Court in this case.

Kligler, who claimed to be terminally ill when launching the case in 2016 remains alive today.

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