Statute: A Model State Act to Authorize and Regulate Physician-Assisted Suicide
35 Pages Posted: 6 May 2005
Despite laws in many states prohibiting assisted suicide, an unknown but significant number of people each year commit suicide with the aid of a physician. In recent years, the phenomenon of physician-assisted suicide has attracted greater attention as physicians have openly risked prosecution to shed light on the subject, advocates have raised a series of legal challenges to laws banning assisted suicide, and a federal judge has struck down the nation's first statute allowing physicians to assist patients in suicide. In this Article, nine authors from the fields of law, medicine, philosophy and economics propose a comprehensive statute to permit and regulate physician-assisted suicide for patients suffering from terminal illnesses or unbearable pain. The proposed statute provides a specific series of procedural requirements designed to prevent mistaken decisions and affords limited legal protection to physicians who follow its requirements.
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