Writing the Rules of Death: State Regulation of Physician-Assisted Suicide

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 24 (3):207-216 (1996)
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If the Supreme Court affirms either Compassion in Dying v. State of Washington or Quill v. Vacco, state legislatures will be presented with a new and unwelcome task: regulating physician-assisted suicide. This article focuses on the states task of specific policy making in light of the due process reasoning in Compassion in Dying and the equal protection reasoning in Quill. Policy makers must try to predict whether a particular regulation would in practice achieve its intended objective. They must also try to predict whether the regulation would survive constitutional review if challenged. Finally, they must consider the extent to which they could, or should, maintain two different regulatory regimes: a more permissive one for decisions to forgo life-sustaining medical treatments, and a more restrictive one for decisions to obtain a prescription for a lethal dose of medication. This last issue will be especially challenging if the equal protection analysis in Quill prevails.



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Principles of biomedical ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by James F. Childress.
Voluntary active euthanasia.Dan W. Brock - 1992 - Hastings Center Report 22 (2):10-22.
Are Laws against Assisted Suicide Unconstitutional?Yale Kamisar - 1993 - Hastings Center Report 23 (3):32-41.

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