Pushback Against Assisted Suicide in the US

New Mexico Supreme Court
By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

US territory includes 50 states, the District of Columbia, five major territories and various minor islands.[1] There are 5 states and the District of Columbia where assisted suicide/euthanasia is legal.[2] Other states have defeated laws seeking to legalize these practices and/or have affirmatively strengthened their laws against these practices. One state, New Mexico, overturned prior legality.  Please find more information below.

A.  This Year, Utah Passed a Law Making Assisted Suicide a Felony 

This year, the state of Utah amended its manslaughter statute to clarify that aiding suicide is a felony.[3] The bill passed the legislature by a 2 to 1 margin.[4]

B.  Last Year, Alabama Passed an Act Banning Assisted Suicide

Last year, Alabama enacted an “Assisted Suicide Ban Act,” which renders any person who deliberately assists a suicide, guilty of a felony.[5] The vote was nearly unanimous.[6]

C.  Two Years Ago, the New Mexico Supreme Court  Overturned Assisted Suicide

Two years ago, the New Mexico Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision recognizing a right to “physician aid in dying,” meaning physician-assisted suicide.[7] Physician-assisted suicide is no longer legal in New Mexico.

Footnotes

[1]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_and_territories_of_the_United_States
[2]  Assisted suicide/euthanasia is legal in California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State and Vermont. Hawaii has enacted a law to legalize, which is not in effect.
[3]  https://le.utah.gov/~2018/bills/static/HB0086.html
[4]  The Utah bill passed the House 51 to 18, and the Senate, 19 to 5. For more information, see https://le.utah.gov/~2018/bills/static/HB0086.html and click “status.”
[5]  Alabama: Assisted Suicide Ban Act to Go Into Effect,” http://www.choiceillusion.org/2017/07/alabama-assisted-suicide-ban-act-to-go.html
[6]  Scroll down to view roll calls at https://legiscan.com/AL/bill/HB96/2017
[7]  Morris v. Brandenburg, 376 P.3d 836 (2016).  See also: http://www.choiceillusionnewmexico.org/2016/07/new-mexico-upholds-assisted-suicide.html