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Free Euthanasia Essays: Assisted Suicide and the Supreme Court

Assisted Suicide and the Supreme Court

The Court upheld two state laws absolutely prohibiting assisted suicide, stating that Washington state’s law does not violate constitutional guarantees of “liberty” (Washington v. Glucksberg) and that New York’s similar law does not violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection (Vacco v. Quill). Oregon’s law selectively permitting assisted suicide for certain patients had been found by one federal district court to violate equal protection; that ruling was not before the Supreme Court. See Lee v. Oregon, 891 F.Supp. 1429 (D. Or. 1995), vacated on other grounds, 107 F.3d 1382 (9th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 118 S. Ct. 328 (1997). As Chief Justice Rehnquist said in his majority opinion in Glucksberg: “Lee, of course, is not before us… and we offer no opinion as to the validity of the Lee courts’ reasoning. In Vacco v. Quill…, however, decided today, we hold that New York’s assisted-suicide ban does not violate the Equal Protection clause.” Washington v. Glucksberg, 117 S. Ct. 2258, 2262 n. 7 (1997) (emphasis added). To this day no appellate court in the country has ruled on the constitutionality of a law like Oregon’s.

The Court also said nothing about assigning this issue to state as opposed to federal jurisdiction. In reviewing the Nation’s longstanding tradition against assisted suicide, it cited federal enactments such as the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act of 1997 alongside state laws. Illustrating the government’s interest in protecting terminally ill patients, the Court favorably cited an earlier decision upholding the federal Food and Drug Administration’s authority “to protect the terminally ill, no less than other patients,” from life-endangering drugs. Washington v. Glucksberg, 117 S. Ct. at 2272, quoting United States v. Rutherford, 442 U.S. 544, 558 (1979).

What the Court did rule is that laws prohibiting assisted suicide (whether state or federal) are constitutionally valid and serve several important and legitimate interests. Excerpts follow:

Washington v. Glucksberg

The question presented in this case is whether Washington’s prohibition against “caus[ing]” or “aid[ing]” a suicide offends the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We hold that it does not…

In almost every State — indeed, in almost every western democracy — it is a crime to assist a suicide. The States’ assisted-suicide bans are not innovations. Rather, they are longstanding expressions of the States’ commitment to the protection and preservation of all human life.

What Can Possibly Be Lost By Aborting at 60 Days? abortion argumentative persuasive

What Can Possibly Be Lost By Aborting at 60 Days? You are welcome to answer your own question. But first, please properly educate yourself on the development of your fetus. The following documented research plots the progression of your child’s growth for 60 days: Day 1: Fertilization: One little boy begins the first day of his life within his mother’s body. At this point, his father’s sperm and his mother’s egg combine to form a new human being who carries with him as much information as 50 sets of a 33-volume encyclopedia. This genetic information (DNA) will determine all of this little person’s physical characteristics and much of his intelligence and personality. (Moore 25, Davis 39, Sadler 3, Gasser 19, Arey 55, Patten 43, Rugh 2-7, Flanagan 41) Day 2: Our little friend is now three cells big. His cells will continue to divide as he starts down his mother’s Fallopian tube towards her uterus (womb), where he will get the food and shelter he needs to grow and develop. Day 6-7: Implantation into his mother’s uterus begins and all the while he continues to grow. As his cells multiply, they differentiate to perform specific functions-circulatory, muscular, neural and skeletal. Day 14: Implantation is completed around this time and his mother misses her first menstrual period. Day 20: His heart, brain, spinal column, and nervous system are almost complete and his eyes begin to form. Day 22: His heart begins to beat. Day 28: This little boy is now approximately 1/4 inch long – 10,000 times larger than he was only three weeks ago! The blood flowing in his veins is completely different than his mother’s. Week 4: His muscles are developing, and arms and leg buds are visible. His large, distinct head is clearly identifiable, along with the major outlines of brain and eye vesicles, the beginnings of his central nervous system, notochord, mouth and pharynx, body cavity, and the basis of his skeleton. Week 5: Our little friend’s face is taking shape; his forehead, eyes, nostrils and mouth are evident; external ears are beginning; hand and foot plates appear in his limb buds. Week 6: The brainwaves of this little boy can be recorded. His different muscles begin working together. Week 8: His fingers and toes are fairly well defined, and fingerprints, a unique and defining feature of every human being, are permanently engraved on his skin. All of his organs are present, complete, and functioning (except his lungs). Whoops!! The fetal development stops at this point because the expectant mother has elected to have an abortion after 60 days. Has a human life been destroyed? Yes, abortion actually terminates a human life. Physicians, biologists and scientists testified before Congress that human life begins at conception (fertilization). In Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, it states that “There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological and scientific writings.” Every abortion involves, either surgicallly or chemically, the destruction of a human zygote or a human fetus, and the subsequent removal of same from his mother’s womb. Therefore, every abortion ends a human life. (“US Congress”) WORKS CITED Arey, Leslie B. Developmental Anatomy. , Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1965. Davis v. Davis, No. E-14496 (Blount County, Tennessee Circuit Court, 1989). Flanagan, Geraldine Lux. The First Nine Months of Life. New York:Simon and Shuster, 1965. Gasser, Raymond. “The Beginning of an Individual Human Life from a Biological Perspective.” Human Life and Health Care Ethics. James Bopp, ed. Frederick, Maryland: University Publications of America, Inc., 1985. Moore, Keith L., Before We Are Born: Basic Embryology and Birth Defects, Toronto: W.B. Saunders Company, 1989. Patten, Bradley M.. Human Embryology. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1968. Report, Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session 1981, p.7. Rugh, Robert and Landrum B. Shettles. Conception to Birth: The Drama of Life’s Beginnings. New York: Harper and Row, 1971. Sadler, T.W. Langman’s Medical Embryology. N.p.: Williams

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