History of Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide
|Other sites are welcome to link to this page, but not to reproduce or repurpose our copyrighted content. Please see our|
Hippocrates, author of the Hippocratic Oath
Source: www.howstuffworks.com (accessed May 5, 2009)
12th Century-15th Century - Christian Views on Euthanasia Reinforce Hippocratic OathThe ascendancy of Christianity, with its view that human life is a trust from God, reinforced the views of the Hippocratic school [which forbid euthanasia]. By the twelfth through fifteenth centuries, it culminated in the near unanimity of medical opinion in opposing euthanasia."
13th Century - During Middle Ages Christians and Jews Tend to Oppose Euthanasia
Saint Thomas Aquinas, Catholic theologian and philosopher
Source: www.sciencemusings.com (accessed May 5, 2009)
17th Century - Common Law Tradition Prohibits Suicide and Assisted Suicide in the American Colonies"For over 700 years, the Anglo American common law tradition has punished or otherwise disapproved of both suicide and assisting suicide... For the most part, the early American colonies adopted the common law approach. For example, the legislators of the Providence Plantations, which would later become Rhode Island, declared, in 1647, that '[s]elf murder is by all agreed to be the most unnatural, and it is by this present Assembly declared, to be that, wherein he that doth it, kills himself out of a premeditated hatred against his own life or other humor...his goods and chattels are the king's custom.'"
Washington v. Glucksberg , 1997
17th-18th Century - Renaissance and Reformation Writers Challenge Church Opposition to Euthanasia"No serious discussion of euthanasia was even possible in Christian Europe until the eighteenth-century Englightment. Suddenly, writers assaulted the church's authoritative teaching on all matters, including euthanasia and suicide... While writers challenged the authority of the church with regard to ethical matters, there was no real widespread interest in the issues of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide during that time."
Late 18th Century - American Evangelical Christians Reject Suicide and Euthanasia"Enlightenment toleration of suicide proved to be temporary. Under the leadership of evangelicals...a vigorous religious counterattack gained momentum as the late eighteenth century drew to a close. The various waves of religious revivalism, starting with the Great Awakening of the mid-1700s, prevented secularists and agnostics on either side of the Atlantic Ocean from generating popular support for taking one's life. These events dovetailed with the Second Great Awakening of intense evangelical fervor in the first years of the nineteenth century and strengthened the condemnation of suicide and euthanasia that stretched back to the earliest days of colonial America.
The rejection of suicide and euthanasia remained firm, even after many of the new states decriminalized suicide in the wake of the Revolutionary War. The majority of Americans rejected suicide's common-law punishment...but no matter how sympathetic they were toward the suicide's family, most Americans stopped far short of condoning self-murder. As late as the antebellum period there existed in the United States a firm consensus...against suicide and mercy killing."
Washington v. Glucksberg , 1997
1870s - Samuel Williams Begins to Publically Advocate Using Morphine and Other Drugs for Euthanasia"An important milestone in the euthanasia debate was the isolation of morphine in the nineteenth cenutry and its widespread use as an analgesic [a pain-relieving agent]... When the practice of analgesia had become reasonably well established, Samuel Williams, a nonphysician, began to advocate the use of these drugs not only to alleviate terminal pain, but to intentionally end a patient's life... During the late 1800s, Williams' euthanasia proposal received serious attention in the medical journals and at scientific meetings. Still, most physicians held the view that pain medication could be administered to alleviate pain, but not to hasten death."
1885 - American Medical Association Opposes EuthanasiaThe Journal of the American Medical Association attacks Samuel Williams' euthanasia proposal as an attempt to make "the physician don the robes of an executioner."
1905-1906 - Bills to Legalize Euthanasia Are Defeated in Ohio"By the turn of the century, medical science had made great strides. As physicians who used the modern scientific method and modern principles of pharmacology consolidated their control over university and medical school training, the euthanasia debate entered the lay press and political forums. In 1905-1906, a bill to legalize euthanasia was defeated in the Ohio legislature by a vote of 79 to 23. In 1906, a similar initiative that would legalize euthanasia not only for terminal adults, but also for 'hideously deformed or idiotic children' was introduced and defeated as well. After 1906, the public interest in euthanasia receded."
1915 - Dr. Haiselden Allows Deformed Baby Boy to Die Rather Than Give Him Possibly Lifesaving Surgery"In the early hours of 12 November 1915, at Chicago's German-American Hospital, Anna Bollinger gave birth to her fourth child, a seven-pound baby boy...the baby was blue and badly deformed. After conferring with the father, the doctor awakened Harry J. Haiselden, the hospital's forty-five-year-old chief of staff. Haiselden diagnosed a litany of physical defects... He predicted that, without surgery...the child would die shortly...
In a decision whose shockwaves would ripple from coast to coast, and mark a milestone in the history of euthanasia in America, Haiselden advised against surgery. The Bollingers tearfully agreed and, on 16 November, Haiselden called a news conference to announce that, rather than operate, he would 'merely stand by passively' and 'let nature complete its bungled job.' The child died on 17 November, amid growing controversy.
By declining to operate, Haiselden...almost singlehandedly managed to accomplish what other defenders of euthanasia before him had not. He not only got more Americans than ever before talking about euthanasia, but also won endorsements from numerous prominent figures. The publicity surrounding his professional conduct, briefly eclipsing news from World War I, inspired other Americans to speak out in favor of letting deformed infants die for the good of society... Haiselden demonstrated how support for euthanasia was nurtured by a cultural climate punctuated by science, naturalism, and humanitarian reform."
1917 - The Black Stork Film Causes Controversy over Infant Euthanasia
Advertisement for The Black Stork published in the Chicago Herald Tribune on Apr. 1, 1917
Source: www.npr.org (accessed May 5, 2009)
The film was inspired by the sensational case of Dr. Harry Haiselden, a Chicago surgeon who convinced the parents of a newborn with multiple disabilities to let the child die instead of performing surgery that would save its life...
Haiselden's activities brought forth a storm of public controversy in which all of the currently popular attitudes toward disability were expressed. Many prominent thinkers, including Clarence Darrow and Helen Keller, argued that physicians had the right and the duty to decide whether a life was worth living. Although it was widely accepted that doctors should make these decisions and act on them in their private practices, it was rare that the subject was argued in public."
National Public Radio (NPR) "The Black Stork: Movie Ads," www.npr.org (accessed May 8, 2009)
1930s - Public Support for Euthanasia Increases as US Endures Great Depression"The dispute over mercy killing, after subsiding in the 1920s, caught fire again in the 1930s, making these years a pivotal juncture in the history of euthanasia in America. With the coming of the Depression and more troubled economic times, Americans began talking again about suicide and controlled dying... Public opinion polls indicated in 1937 that fully 45 percent of Americans had caught up with Harry Haiselden's belief that the mercy killing of 'infants born permanently deformed or mentally handicapped' was permissible."
1937 - Voluntary Euthanasia Act Introduced in US SenateNebraska Senator John Comstock introduces legislation called the Voluntary Euthanasia Act, which calls for the legalization of active euthanasia. It is never voted on but demonstrates an emerging interest in legislating euthanasia.
Bryan Hilliard, PhD "The Moral and Legal Status of Physician-Assisted Death: Quality Of Life and the Patient-Physician Relationship," Issues in Integrative Studies
1938 - National Society for the Legalization of Euthanasia FoundedOn January 16th, 1938 Charles Francis Potter announces the founding of the National Society for the Legalization of Euthanasia (NSLE), which is soon renamed the Euthanasia Society of America (ESA). According to TIME magazine, "he and a sizable group of other notable men believe[d] so strongly in the right of an incurably diseased individual to have his life terminated gently that they... organized a National Society for the Legalization of Euthanasia... its trustees included Dr. Clarence Cook Little of the American Society for the Control of Cancer and of the American Birth Control League, and Secretary Leon Fradley Whitney of the American Eugenics Society."
TIME Magazine "Potter and Euthanasia," www.time.com, Jan. 31, 1938
Urns containing the remains of children euthanised by the Nazis at Spiegelgrund Children's Hospital in Vienna during World War II (The burial took place in Apr. 2002)
Source: news.bbc.co.uk (accessed May 5, 2009)
1946 - Committee of 1776 Physicians for Legalizing Voluntary Euthanasia FoundedThe Committee of 1776 Physicians for Legalizing Voluntary Euthanasia in New York State comes into existence.
Bryan Hilliard, PhD "The Moral and Legal Status of Physician-Assisted Death: Quality Of Life and the Patient-Physician Relationship," Issues in Integrative Studies, 2000
1950 - World Medical Association Condemns Euthanasia; Poll Shows Declining Support for Physician-Assisted SuicideThe World Medical Association votes to recommend to all national medical associations that euthanasia be condemned "under any circumstances." In the same year, the American Medical Association issues a statement that the majority of doctors do not believe in euthanasia.
When an opinion poll in 1950 asked Americans whether they approved of allowing physicians by law to end incurably ill patients' lives by painless means if they and their families requested it, only 36 percent answered 'yes,' approximately 10 percent less than in the late 1930s."
1962 - Pauline Taylor Becomes President of the Euthanasia Society of AmericaCharles Potter dies and theologian Joseph Fletcher assumes Potter's unofficial title as the chief philosopher of the euthanasia movement.
Fletcher fashions a new rationale for euthanasia based primarily on the notion of patient autonomy."
Pauline Taylor becomes president of the Euthanasia Society of America (ESA).
"Taylor...began the ESA's soul-searching process that led to a major shift in the philosophy for the entire American euthanasia movement. She believed the ESA in the past had overemphasized the soundness of an individual's decision to have his or her life ended if terminally ill and in unbearable pain... Taylor concluded that the time was ripe to...begin convincing the public that letting someone die, instead of resorting to extreme measures, was both humane and ethically permissible."
1965 - Donald McKinney Becomes President of the Euthanasia Society of AmericaDonald McKinney becomes president of the Euthanasia Society of America (ESA).
"Over the next two decades [McKinney] would help to transform the euthanasia movement by leading a sizeable faction opposed to active euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. In the process he eventually concluded...that there was a fundamental distinction between passive and active euthanasia."
1967 - First Living Will WrittenThe first living will is written by attorney Luis Kutner and his arguments for it appear in the Indiana Law Journal.
1968 - Harvard Medical School Committee Defines Irreversible Coma as a Criterion for DeathThe Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School to Examine the Definition of Brain Death publishes its report in the Journal of the American Medical Association in August 1968. The committee defines "irreversible coma" as a new criterion for death. According to the committee, a new definition of death was needed because of the great burden that trying to revive irreversibly comatose patients puts on the patients themselves, their families, hospitals and the community.
Peter Singer, MA Rethinking Life & Death, 1994
1969 - Hastings Center FoundedThe Hastings Center was founded in 1969 by Daniel Callahan to study ethical problems in medicine and biology and was instrumental in the development of bioethics as a discipline. The original focus of the center concerned death and dying, genetics, reproductive biology and population issues, and behavior control.
Daniel Callahan, PhD "The Hastings Center and the Early Years of Bioethics," Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, Mar. 1999
1970s - Idea of Patients' Rights Gains AcceptanceIn the early 1970s, the widely accepted authority of the medical profession came under concerted attack in the name of patient autonomy. This challenge has been embodied in the progressive enumeration of patient rights, especially the right to refuse medical care, even life-sustaining care. The goals have been to remove physicians from decision making and to let individual patients weigh the benefits and burdens of continued life.
1972 - US Senate Holds First National Hearings on EuthanasiaThe US Senate Special Commission on Aging (SCA) holds the first national hearings on death with dignity entitled "Death with Dignity: An Inquiry into Related Public Issues.”
"The SCA hearings, chaired by Senator Frank Church, proved to be a superb opportunity for professionals and laypeople to discuss a range of issues relating to aging and terminal illness, including the evolving doctor-patient relationship and the difficulties about defining death itself. Overall, the hearings showed that Americans were becoming increasingly unhappy about 'the brutal irony of medical miracles,' which extended the dying process only to diminish patient dignity and quality of life. Church insisted that the hearings were not about euthanasia, but try as he might, he could not keep the subject from surfacing."
1973 - American Hospital Association (AHA) Adopts Patient's Bill of RightsThe American Hospital Association adopts a "Patient's Bill of Rights" which recognizes the right of patients to refuse treatment.
1974 - Society for the Right to Die Founded"The founding of the Society for the Right to Die [formerly the Euthanasia Society of America] marked a renewed dedication to pursuing the legalization of active euthanasia, a reenergized campaign to seek euthanasia laws through the political process."
1974 - First US Hospice OpensThe first American hospice opens in New Haven, Connecticut.
Bryan Hilliard, PhD "The Moral and Legal Status of Physician-Assisted Death: Quality Of Life and the Patient-Physician Relationship," Issues in Integrative Studies, 2003
Mar. 31, 1976 - Supreme Court Rules in Quinlan Case that Respirator Can Be Removed from Coma Patient21-year-old Karen Ann Quinlan had fallen into an irreversible coma at a party in 1974. After doctors declared that she was in a "persistent vegetative state," her parents went to court to have her respirator removed.
The New Jersey Supreme Court rules in 1976 that Karen Quinlan can be detached from her respirator.
The case becomes a legal landmark, drawing national and international attention to end-of-life issues.
In Re Quinlan , 1976
Oct. 1, 1976 - Nation's First Aid in Dying Statute Signed into Law in CACalifornia Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signs the California Natural Death Act into law and California becomes the first state in the nation to grant terminally ill persons the right to authorize withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment when death is believed to be imminent.
New York Times "California Grants Terminally Ill Right to Put an End to Treatment," Oct. 2, 1976
1977 - Eight States Have Right to Die BillsBy 1977, eight states -- California, New Mexico, Arkansas, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, North Carolina, and Texas -- had signed right-to-die bills into law.
Sue Woodman Last Rights: The Struggle over the Right to Die, 2000
1980 - World Federation of Right to Die Societies FormsThe World Federation of Right to Die Societies was founded in 1980. Its membership included dozens of organizations from countries around the world that were concerned with euthanasia and the the right to die.
World Federation of Right to Die Societies "Ensuring Choices for a Dignified Death, www.woldtd.net (accessed May 9, 2009)
1980 - Hemlock Society Forms
Hemlock Society logo.
Source: bookdoctor.com (accessed May 6, 2009)
"Humphry ranks as one of the preeminent pioneers of the American euthanasia movement... Hemlock enjoyed a remarkable growth in the 1980s that rivaled anything the other U.S. organizations had achieved... What also distinguished Hemlock from CFD [Concern for Dying] and the SRD [Society for the Right to Die] was its official support for active euthanasia and assisted suicide."
Dec. 1984 - American Medical Association Supports Withholding or Withdrawing Life-Prolonging Medical Treatment in Certain CircumstancesThe American Medical Association publishes two reports, "Withholding or Withdrawing Life-Prolonging Medical Treatment, and "Withholding or Withdrawing Life-Prolonging Medical Treatment -- Patients' Preferences." The reports detail the American Medical Association's formal position that with informed consent, a physician can withhold or withdraw treatment from a patient who is close to death, and may also discontinue life support of a patient in a permanent coma.
American Medical Association (AMA) "Opinion 2.20: Withholding or Withdrawing Life-Sustaining Medical Treatment," www.ama-assn.org, (accessed May 12, 2009)
1987 - California State Bar Becomes First Major Public Body to Support Physician Aid in DyingThe California State Bar Conference passes Resolution #3-4-87 to become the first major public body to approve of physician aid in dying.
1988 - Unitarian Universalist Association Passes Resolution in Support of Aid in DyingThe Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations passes a national resolution titled "The Right to Die With Dignity." The resolution favors aid in dying for the terminally ill, thus the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations becoms the first religious body to affirm a right to die.
Jan. 8, 1988 - Journal of the American Medical Association Publishes Article by Hospital Worker Who Euthanized a PatientThe Journal of the American Medical Association publishes an anonymous article entitled "It's Over Debbie." The article describes how a gynecology resident in a large private hospital had injected a patient suffering from painful ovarian cancer with an overdose of morphine. The article stirs controversy and debate, and many condemn the resident for what he had done.
Jonathan Moreno, PhD Arguing Euthanasia: The Controversy Over Mercy Killing, Assisted Suicide, and the "Right to Die," 1995
1990s - Public Opinion Surveys Show More Than Half of Americans Support Physician-Assisted DeathBy the early 1990s, the growing interest in the right-to-die movement became apparent in public opinion surveys. These showed that more than half of the American public was now in favor of physician-assisted death and membership of the Hemlock Society rose dramatically to reach 50,000... With increased public interest, the stage was set for an explosive swell of activity: in the courts, in professional medical journals and institutions, and, most significantly, in the homes of the American people.
Sue Woodman Last Rights: The Struggle over the Right to Die, 2000
Dr. Jack Kevorkian pictured on the May 31, 1993 cover of Time magazine
Source: www.time.com (accessed May 5, 2009)
Wesley J. Smith, JD The Slippery Slope From Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder, 1997
June 25, 1990 - Supreme Court Rules in Cruzan Case That a Person Has the Right to Refuse Life Saving Medical ServiceCruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health comes before the United States Supreme Court. The case receives national attention, as it is the first right-to-die case that the court has agreed to hear. In 1983, a car acccident had left Nancy Cruzan permanently unconscious (by most accounts). Her parents requested to withdraw her feeding tube, but the Missouri Supreme Court refused. The United States Supreme Court ruled that a competent person has a constitutionally protected right to refuse any medical treatment, but upholds Missouri's right to insist on clear and convincing evidence as to the wishes of patients who do not have decision-making capacity. In light of the ruling, the Cruzans' lawyer goes back to court with new evidence as to Nancy's prior wishes, and Nancy's feeding tube is removed. She dies on December 26th, 1990.
Wesley J. Smith, JD The Slippery Slope From Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder, 1997
Nov. 5, 1990 - US Congress Passes Patient Self-Determination ActCongress passes the Patient Self-Determination Act, requiring hospitals that receive federal funds to tell patients that they have a right to demand or refuse treatment. It takes effect the next year.
Patient Self Determination Act Nov. 5, 1990
1991 - Choice in Dying FormedChoice in Dying is formed by the merger of two aid in dying organizations, Concern for Dying and Society for the Right to Die. The new organization becomes known for defending patients' rights and promoting living wills, and grows in five years to 150,000 members.
Derek Humphry "Chronology of Euthanasia and Right-to-Die Events During the 20th Century and into the Millenium," www.finalexit.org, Feb. 27, 2
Nov. 1991 - Washington Voters Defeat Physician-Aid-in-Dying InitiativeWashington State introduces ballot Initiative 119 to legalize "physician-aid-in-dying." The initiative is defeated.
Nov. 3, 1992 - California Death with Dignity Act Is DefeatedCalifornia voters defeat Proposition 161, the California Death with Dignity Act, which would have allowed physicians to hasten death by actively administering or prescribing medications for self administration by suffering, terminally ill patients. The vote is 54-46 percent.
Wesley J. Smith, JD Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder, 1990
Apr. 1993 - Compassion in Dying FormedCompassion in Dying is founded in Washington state to counsel the terminally ill and provide information about how to die without suffering and 'with personal assistance, if necessary, to intentionally hasten death.' The group sponsors suits challenging state laws against assisted suicide.
Compassion & Choices "Aid-In-Dying Timeline," www.compassionandchoices.org (accessed May 12, 2009)
May 1994 - New York Task Force Publishes Report Against Physician-Assisted SuicideThe New York State Task Force on Life and the Law publishes When Death Is Sought, a report that argues against the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.
Nov. 1994 - Oregon Death with Dignity Act PassedThe Oregon Death With Dignity Act is passed, becoming the first law in American history permitting physician-assisted suicide.
Apr. 30, 1997 - President Clinton Prohibits Using Federal Funds for Assisted SuicidePresident Clinton signs the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act of 1997, which prohibits the use of federal funds to cause a patient's death.
June 26, 1997 - US Supreme Court Rules There Is No Right to DieThe Supreme Court rules in Washington v. Glucksberg and Vacco v. Quill that there is not a constitutional right to die.
Nov. 1997 - Oregon Voters Keep Death with Dignity ActOregonians vote 60 to 40 percent in favor of keeping the Death with Dignity Act.
Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) "Death With Dignity Act History," www.oregon.gov, Mar. 2006
Nov. 1998 - Jack Kevorkian Assists a Suicide on National TelevisionJack Kevorkian, MD, is a guest on 60 Minutes, during which he shows a videotape of him administering a lethal injection to Thomas Youk, a man suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease.
People v. Kevorkian , 2001
Nov. 1998 - Michigan Defeats Physician-Assisted Suicide ProposalMichigan introduces Proposal B to legalize physician-assisted suicide. The proposal fails by a vote of 29% to 71%.
1999 - Jack Kevorkian Convicted of MurderA Michigan court convicts Jack Kevorkian, MD, for the murder of Thomas Youk and sentences him to 10-25 years in prison.
People v. Kevorkian , 2001
2000 - Maine Death with Dignity Act Is DefeatedMaine introduces a ballot initiative, the Maine Death with Dignity Act, that reads "Should a terminally ill adult, who is of sound mind, be allowed to ask for and receive a doctor's help to die?" The initiative is defeated by a margin of 51% to 49%.
Patients Rights Council "Frequently Asked Questions," www.internationaltaskforce.org, 2006
2003 - Attorney-General Aschroft Challenges the Oregon Death with Dignity ActUS Attorney-General John Ashcroft asks the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the finding of a lower court judge that the Oregon Death With Dignity Act of 1994 does not contravene federal powers.
2005 - Terri Schiavo Has Her Feeding Tube Removed after Long Court Battle
Protest against the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube outside the US courthouse featured on the Mar. 22, 2005 front cover of the Tampa Tribune
Source: www.tbihome.org (accessed May 6, 2009)
BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) "Timeline: Terri Schiavo Case," Mar. 31, 2005
Jan. 17, 2006 - US Supreme Court Upholds Oregon's Death with Dignity Act in Gonzales v. OregonThe Supreme Court, in a 6-3 opinion in Gonzales v. Oregon, holds that the Controlled Substances Act does not authorize the Attorney General to ban the use of controlled substances for physician-assisted suicide. Oregon's Death with Dignity Law is upheld.
Gonzales v. Oregon , Jan. 17, 2006
June 1, 2007 - Jack Kevorkian Released on ParoleJack Kevorkian, MD, the pathologist sentenced on Apr. 13, 1999 to 10-25 years in prison for his role in the euthanasia of Thomas Youk is paroled after serving 8 years.
New York Times "Kevorkian Is Released from Prison," June 1, 2007
Reuters "Luxembourg Parliament Adopts Euthanasia Law," www.reuters.com, Feb. 20, 2008
Washington Death with Dignity Act Nov. 4, 2008
Dec. 5, 2008 - State of Montana Legalizes Physician-Assisted SuicideMontana district judge Dorothy McCarter rules in the case of Baxter v. State of Montana that Montana residents have the legal right to physician assisted suicide, thus making it the third US state to legalize physican aid in dying.
Baxter v. State of Montana (1.5MB) , Dec. 5, 2008
Dec. 31, 2009 - State of Montana Affirms Physician-Assisted Suicide Not Against Public PolicyThe Montana Supreme Court affirmed 4-3 in the case of Baxter v. State of Montana that physician-assisted suicide is not "against public policy" in Montana. The Court further ruled that state law protects doctors in Montana from prosecution for helping terminally ill patients die. The court declined to rule on the larger question of whether physician-assisted suicide is a right guaranteed under Montana's Constitution.
New York Times "Dr. Jack Kevorkian Dies at 83; A Doctor Who Helped End Lives," nytimes.com, June 3, 2011
Nov. 6, 2012 - Massachusetts Death with Dignity Ballot Measure DefeatedMassachusetts voters rejected the Death with Dignity ballot measure by less than 60,000 votes. The measure would have legalized physician-assisted suicide by allowing doctors to prescribe a lethal dosage of medicine to people with less than six months to live.
CBS News "Election 2012: How Pot, Porn and Punishment Initiatives Fared with Voters," www.cbsnews.com, Nov. 7, 2012
Reuters "Vermont Passes Law Allowing Doctor-Assisted Suicide,” www.reuters.com, May 20, 2013
Laura Schauer Ives, Managing Attorney for ACLU-New Mexico, plaintiffs Katherine Morris, MD, and Aroop Mangalik, MD, and Kathryn Tucker, Director of Legal Services for Compassion & Choices
Source: Michah McCoy, "ACLU Seeks Ruling That Physicians Can Provide Aid in Dying," www.aclu.nm.org, Mar. 15, 2012
Cecilia Rodriguez, MA “Will Belgium’s Legalized Child Euthanasia Trigger Death Tourism?,” www.forbes.com, Mar. 6, 2014
National Public Radio (NPR) “Canadians Have a Right to Assisted Suicide, High Court Says,” www.npr.org, Feb. 6, 2015
Aug. 11, 2015 - New Mexico Court Ruling Allowing Physician-Assisted Suicide Struck Down by Higher CourtThe New Mexico Court of Appeals struck down a Jan. 13, 2014 lower-court ruling legalizing physician-assisted suicide in a 2-1 ruling.
"'We conclude that aid in dying is not a fundamental liberty interest under the New Mexico Constitution,' said Judge Timothy L. Garcia in the majority opinion."
Washington Times "New Mexico Court Strikes down Ruling That Allowed Assisted Suicide," www.washingtontimes.com, Aug. 11, 2015
Los Angeles Times "Gov. Brown Signs Controversial Assisted-Suicide Bill," www.latimes.com, Oct. 5, 2015
Toronto Star "'This Is a Big Step in Canadian Society and Justice,' Trudeau Says of Assisted Dying Bill: Paul Wells," thestar.com, June 7, 20
Reuters "17-Year-Old Is First Minor to Be Granted Euthanasia in Belgium," reuters.com, Sep. 17, 2016
Nov. 8, 2016 - Colorado Legalizes Physician-Assisted Suicide"CO-106 made assisted death legal 'among patients with a terminal illness who receive a prognosis of death within six months.'
Colorado is only the sixth state to approve some form of physician-assisted death. Its bill was modeled after Oregon's law, Colorado Public Radio reports. The law requires patients to self-administer a doctor-prescribed drug."
National Public Radio (NPR) "4 States Opt To Raise Minimum Wage; 7 Loosen Marijuana Laws," npr.org, Nov. 9, 2016
Daily Caller "DC's Assisted Suicide Law Goes into Effect over the Weekend," dailycaller.com, Feb. 17, 2017
New York Times "Australian State Passes Assisted Dying Law," nytimes.com, Nov. 29, 2017
Joanne Finnegan "Two State Medical Societies Drop Opposition to Medical Aid-In-Dying," fiercehealthcare.com, Dec. 5, 2017
Washington Times "Hawaii Becomes Eighth Jurisdiction Where Assisted Suicide Is Legal," washingtontimes.com, Apr. 6, 2018
Governor Phil Murphy signs the physician-assisted suicide bill into law
Governor Phil Murphy, "Governor Murphy Signs Legislation to Permit Death with Dignity in New Jersey," nj.gov, Apr. 12, 2019
ABC News Julia Jacobo, "New Jersey Governor Signs Law Allowing Terminally Ill Patients to End Their Lives," abcnews.go.com, Apr. 14, 2019
Washington Post Marina Villeneuve, "Maine Becomes 8th State to Legalize Assisted Suicide," washingtonpost.com, June 12, 2019
Associated Press (AP) Sarah Zimmerman, "Oregon Removes Assisted Suicide Wait for Certain Patients, apnews.com, July 24, 2019
Christopher F. Schuetze, "German Court Overturns Ban on Assisted Suicide," nytimes.com, Feb. 26, 2020
The law is expected to be finalized within months of the announcement.
Maria Cramer and Claire Moses, "Netherlands to Allow Doctors to Help End Lives of Terminally Ill Children," nytimes.com, Oct. 16, 2020
The law will only apply to citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand over the age of 18 who are terminally ill with 6 months to live. The person must be in an "advanced state of irreversible decline in physical capability" with "unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that the person considers tolerable." The patient must also be able to make an informed decision about assisted death.
Preeti Jha, "New Zealand Euthanasia: Assisted Dying to Be Legal for Terminally Ill People," bbc.com, Oct. 30, 2020
The next day, Martha Sepulveda, who suffered with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, was the second person with a non-terminal illness to die via legally regulated euthanasia in Colombia.
DescLAB, a legal rights advocacy group, stated 178 people with terminal illnesses had been legally euthanized between 1997 and Oct. 15, 2020 in Colombia.
Reuters, "Man Becomes First Person in Colombia with Non-Terminal Illness to Die by Legal Euthanasia," cnn.com, Jan. 9, 2022
Compassion & Choices, a national advocacy group, sued Oregon. Kevin Diaz, an attorney with the group, stated, "This requirement was both discriminatory and profoundly unfair to dying patients at the most critical time of their life.” The group plans to pressure the eight other states and DC with aid-in-dying programs to lift their residency requirements.
The Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Medical Board settled in the U.S. District Court in Portland on Monday, agreeing to stop enforcing the residency requirement and to ask the legislature to edit the law.
Gene Johnson, “Oregon Ends Residency Rule for Medically Assisted Suicide,” thehill.com, Mar, 29, 2022
|Other sites are welcome to link to this page, but not to reproduce or repurpose our copyrighted content. Please see our|