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    Court upholds suicide restriction

     

    A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 26 that state governments have the right to outlaw physician-assisted suicide. The landmark ruling dealt a severe blow to the nation’s growing “right-to-die” movement.

    The Court upheld laws from New York and Washington states forbidding physician-assisted suicide, rejecting an invitation to create a new constitutional right for terminally ill patients to receive medical help in committing suicide.

    The High Court’s ruling overturned lower court rulings. Appeals courts in California and New York had struck down state bans on physician-assisted suicide as unconstitutional.

    Many states prohibit physician-assisted suicide, and only Oregon has passed a law permitting the practice. That law is being challenged in court.

    Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote, “The difficulty in defining terminal illness and the risk that a dying patient’s request for assistance in ending his or her life might not be truly voluntary justifies the prohibitions on assisted suicide we uphold here.”

    — E.P. News

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