Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Supreme Court to consider challenge to Oregon's use of drugs in suicides

The Supreme Court today decided that it would take up the Bush's administration attempt to stop some of Oregon's doctors from prescribing federally controlled substances to assist in suicide.

Fairly early in the Bush administration, former Attorney General John Ashcroft ruled that the Controlled Substance Act allowed the U.S. government to stop physicians from prescribing federally-controlled drugs with the purpose of ending a life. Ashcroft, unlike his predecessor Janet Reno, understood that prescribing federally-controlled substances to intentionally end a life is not a legitimate medical purpose.

The story from Bloomberg.

The International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide has good some background information here.

It should be noted that position of the Justice Department doesn't overturn Oregon's law - it merely is trying to prevent the misuse of federally-controlled substances. Even if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the Justice Department, doctors in Oregon could still assist in suicides by prescribing lethal doses of substances that aren't controlled by the federal government.

Hat Tip: Katherine Lopez at The Corner.

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