States' rights vs. "culture of life"

Discussion in 'Health and Lifestyle' started by Mariner, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. Mariner
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    Mariner Active Member

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    I'm curious where people here come down on the issue of the Oregon suicide law, which pits two conservative principles against each other--states' rights and the "culture of life."

    Personally, as a physician, I am extremely wary of this law. Major Depression is a treatable disorder which causes at least 20,000 suicides a year. I do not feel convinced that having two physicians examine someone is sufficient to conclude that 1. the patient only has 6 months to live and 2. s/he does not have a Major Depression. Furthermore, it's too easy for me to imagine family situations where pressure would be applied to end things early, for others' benefit, e.g. a quicker inheritance or life insurance payment.

    In other words, I'm with Bush, Scalia, and Thomas on this one--that's a first for this Cambridge liberal!

    Here's one news report:

    Supreme Court Upholds Oregon Physician-Assisted Suicide Law

    By Peggy Peck, Managing Editor, MedPage Today
    January 17, 2006

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 - The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld Oregon's 1997 law allowing physicians to aid in the suicide of terminally ill adults. The court's decision was by a six-to-three majority.

    The high court decision was a defeat for the Bush administration, which had vigorously battled the Oregon law even after it had already been upheld in two lower Federal courts. The administration argued that physicians who prescribed drugs to help patients end their lives were violated federal drug interdiction laws-the laws used to prosecute drug dealers.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision, said the government has the right to prosecute drug dealers and to pass laws that regulate drug safety. But the Oregon law is limited, he reasoned, because it applied only to terminal patients who are expected to live six months or less. The law requires that at least two doctors agree on that prognosis.

    Chief Justice John Roberts joined Justices Anthony Scalia and Clarence Thomas in dissent.

    * * *

    http://www.medpagetoday.com/PublicHealthPolicy/HealthPolicy/tb/2499
     
  2. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    Speaking of Nazi Germany, when do we get to the part where it's okay for the states to determine which incurably insane people are undeserving of life?
     
  3. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    I'm sure the libs crossed their hearts and swore to never ask for any further latitude. :duh3:
     
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  4. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    It's just a step. This will naturally conflict with suicide laws and definitely life insurance companies. They're next.
     
  5. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    I think euthenasia is appalling, and okppose it at every turn. However, as long as due process has been given, I feel that the federal government does not have the right to interfere. While the bid to say that it was improperly dispensed drugs was their best bet, as many drug laws are federal, but the feds still had no jurisdiction. So far, the Oregan euthenasia laws meet the due process statute and the only way to top them is to either redefine the statute or make a new federal law.
     
  6. manu1959
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    manu1959 Left Coast Isolationist

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    i think if you want to kill youself you should be allowed to....if you need help from a doctor...fine by me

    my will says:

    after 60 days 3 doctors from 3 different med groups evaluate me, if the prognosis is terminal

    pull the plug, inject me whatever

    then

    viking funeral
     
  7. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    I tend to agree. While I am no fan of assisted suicide, the federal drug laws are not sufficient to regulate it. I think the Bush administration made it hard on itself by choosing those laws to try and overturn the suicide law. The federal government is going to have to ban assisted suicide straight up if it wants an effective ban, and not try to sidestep it like they tried to do.
     
  8. Mariner
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    Mariner Active Member

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    I'm dense--I didn't understand what you were referring to in terms of Nazis and incurably insane people... ?

    Mariner.
     
  9. Mariner
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    Mariner Active Member

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    George Bush speaks of the culture of life. I was rather surprised to read in today's Times that he signed a law in Texas that permits disconnecting life support from a patient who can't pay for the care. In December, a conscious 27 year old woman, who did NOT want to die, was disconnected from her ventilator at Baylor due to this law:

    "Baylor disconnected her ventilator on Dec. 12, invoking a law signed in 1999 by George W. Bush, then governor of Texas. The law relieved doctors of an obligation to provide life-sustaining treatment 10 days after having provided formal notice that such treatment was found to be medically "inappropriate."

    Unlike the comatose Terri Schiavo, Ms. Habtegiris was fully conscious and responsive when she was disconnected, according to her brother. She wanted to continue breathing. Her brother and several other family members have described the agonizing spectacle of her death by suffocation over the next 16 minutes."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/19/business/19scene.html?pagewanted=print

    Mariner
     
  10. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    I guess no one could afford to keep her alive. It's like other things in life---if you can't afford it, you don't get to participate in it.
     

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