The US Supreme Court and the Right to Die in California

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By large margins, Oregon voters have twice approved measures allowing "doctor-assisted suicide," which is also called "death with dignity." But the Bush Administration has threatened to prosecute doctors who prescribe drugs to make that possible. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the federal government has no right to intervene in that way, and today the US Supreme Court took up the issue. The California State Legislature is expected to take up a similar proposal next year. Should individuals have the right to die? What role should physicians play? Can the federal government overturn right-to-die statutes enacted by states that are sovereign under the Constitution? We hear from proponents and opponents, including patients, nurses, an expert in constitutional law, and an assemblyman who's authored a bill he calls Death with Dignity for California.

Oregon's Death with Dignity Act

Gonzales v Oregon, 9th Circuit District Court on

Gonzales v Oregon, Supreme Court docket on

Controlled Substances Act

Credits

Host:
Warren Olney

Producer:
Frances Anderton