Pardalis & Nohavicka Constitutional/Criminal Law Update: There is no Constitutional Right to Suicide Assistance – In NY, It is a Crime
NY’s highest state court has ruled that there is no constitutional right to “aid-in-dying,” (the right of a mentally competent and terminally ill person to obtain a prescription for a lethal dosage of drugs from a physician, to be taken at some point to cause death). Although New York has long recognized a competent adult’s right to forgo life-saving medical care, the court rejected the argument that an individual has a fundamental constitutional right to aid-in-dying.
When the complaint was filed, one of the plaintiffs was 62 years old. She suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, a neurodegenerative condition without a cure. As the disease took hold, she was in constant acute pain. Here is how she described it: trapped in a torture chamber of her own deteriorating body, fully aware of all that was transpiring to her physically and, worse yet, that the agonizing pain would persist for the rest of her days. She sought relief in the form of prescription medications “to achieve a peaceful death.”
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