Sex and Death: Lawrence's Liberty and Physician-Assisted Suicide

32 Pages Posted: 15 May 2006 Last revised: 17 Sep 2015

See all articles by Diana Hassel

Diana Hassel

Roger Williams University School of Law


This Article explores whether physician-assisted suicide is necessarily included in the substantive due process liberty interest described in Lawrence v. Texas. A fundamental right for the terminally ill to hasten their deaths through physician assistance has previously been rejected. This Article argues that the bases for the previous rejection of the right have been eroded by doctrinal expansion of due process protection of liberty and by the growing political and cultural acceptance of physician-assisted suicide. In this Article, the doctrinal and political similarity of the claims successfully asserted in Lawrence and the claimed liberty interest in controlling the manner of one's death are analyzed and the likelihood of the Court's recognition of a right to physician-assisted suicide is examined.

Suggested Citation

Hassel, Diana, Sex and Death: Lawrence's Liberty and Physician-Assisted Suicide. 9 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 1003 (2007), Roger Williams Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 27, Available at SSRN:

Diana Hassel (Contact Author)

Roger Williams University School of Law ( email )

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