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Title: Further Decision on the Right to Die
Contributor(s): Eburn, Michael E (author)
Publication Date: 1996
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Abstract: Following the decision of the Ninth Circuit of the United States Com1 of Appeals in 'Compassion in Dying v State of Washington', the Second Circuit of the same court has handed down a decision ruling that a New York law that prohibits doctors from assisting their patients to die was unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States. This decision does not create law in Australia, but it does represent an interesting development in international jurisprudence on the issue of the "right to die". The decision in 'Quill v Vacco' was based on the constitutional requirement of equal protection and due process under law. In this respect, the court's decision differed from that of the Ninth Circuit which found a constitutionally protected liberty interest in determining the time and manner of one's death. The Second Circuit decision is not as far reaching and looked specifically at the terms of the legislation in question. Unlike the Ninth Circuit decision, the result in this case depended on the practical application of the Constitution to the law in question, rather than the discovery of a fundamental interest that would be protected under the Constitution. It was suggested by Calabresi J that the State could rework its legislation so that it provided "equal protection", in which case the court would again consider the validity of the legislation. Having said that, the reasoning of the court did raise some fundamental questions in the right-to-die issue, and made findings of law, facts and ethics that may represent a further significant step forward in the legal recognition of the rights of competent persons to determine the time and manner of their death.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Law and Medicine, v.4, p. 15-17
Publisher: Law Book Company
Place of Publication: North Ryde, Australia
ISSN: 1320-159X
Field of Research (FOR): 180110 Criminal Law and Procedure
180199 Law not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C2 Non-Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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