Wednesday, October 05, 2005

U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments Today Regarding Oregon's Assisted Suicide Law

"We are all terminally ill. Life is an illness spread by sexual contact. You die at the end 100%"
- Ludwig Minelli, founder of Dignitas, a Swiss organization the promotes assisted suicide

Today in the case of Gonzalez v. State of Oregon, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding Oregon's assisted suicide law. This important case will give an early glimpse into Chief Justice John Roberts' judicial philosophy. Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief with the High Court in support of the U.S. Attorney General.

Oregon's Death with Dignity Act allows for a physician-assisted suicide. The U.S. Attorney General interpreted the federal Controlled Substances Act to prohibit physicians from prescribing controlled substances for assisted suicide. Liberty Counsel's brief argues that the Attorney General properly exercised his role as protector of the inalienable right to life. This right to life is manifested in the Declaration of Independence which states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, . . ."

The brief reviews many state court decisions prohibiting assisted suicide. The brief also notes that the American Medical Association "continues to stand by its ethical principle that physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer." Like the FCC, which has jurisdiction of the airwaves, and the FAA, which has jurisdiction of the airspace, the FDA has jurisdiction over the regulation of controlled substances. The FDA can release new drugs, restrict them or pull them from the market. The purpose of this regulatory power is to ensure that controlled substances are safely used to heal or control pain. The U.S. Attorney General's decision to prohibit controlled substances from being used to kill people is a permissible exercise of his power.

When a physician participates in a person's suicide by administering controlled substances, the line between healer and executioner is blurred, and the sanctity of life is lost. America should not become like Belgium or the Netherlands, where patients wonder whether a physician with a syringe brings life or death. The state of Oregon does not have a constitutional right to require the federal government to participate, directly or indirectly, through the use of controlled substances, in the termination of an innocent person's life. Had the U.S. Attorney General stood idly by and allowed Oregon physicians to use federally controlled substances to kill the elderly, such inaction would have placed the nation's seal of approval on euthanasia.

Technical definitions aside, the difference between so-called "assisted suicide" where the physician hooks up a device and the patient need only flip a switch or the physician mixes a poisonous concoction which the patient need only drink, and "euthanasia", where the physician administers a drug without the patient's participation, is illusory. There is no difference between assisted suicide and euthanasia in reality -- the patient still dies.

According to an encyclopedia website, the Netherlands and Belgium have legalized euthanasia, while Switzerland has legalized assisted suicide. Another website -- of the Christian Medical Fellowship, states that physician assisted suicide is legal in Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Oregon and Switzerland. In practice, many doctors practice euthanasia on infants with disabilities. The National Review published a chilling article on the practice.

May God have mercy on us all if this nation sanctions any such barbaric practices.