By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
On August 11, the New Mexico Court of Appeals handed a defeat to the right-to-die movement by reversing an activist lower-court ruling that legalized assisted suicide. In overturning the lower court decision, the Court of Appeals upheld the assisted suicide law in New Mexico.
Yesterday the assisted suicide lobby appealed the Court of Appeals decision to the New Mexico Supreme Court.
The case argued that "aid in dying", which is also known as assisted suicide, is not prohibited by the New Mexico assisted suicide law because "aid in dying" is not assisted suicide.
The case argued, that if "aid in dying" is assisted suicide, then the New Mexico assisted suicide law is unconstitutional because it undermines the right to privacy and autonomy.
But, Aid in dying is assisted suicide and assisted suicide does not constitute medical treatment. Therefore prohibiting assisted suicide does not undermine the right to privacy or autonomy.
The case originally concerned Aja Riggs, a woman with uterine cancer, who said that she wanted to die by assisted suicide, and two doctors who were willing to prescribe lethal drugs. Riggs told the Albuqueque journal last December that she is now in remission. She is fortunate that the court did not give her an exemption to die by assisted suicide.
Since Riggs is in remission, the suicide lobby amended their claim. Now the case is based on Susan Brown, who has terminal cancer and David Bradley, who lives with ALS.
A similar case was dismissed by the Connecticut court in 2010.