Colorado Assisted Suicide Act Is Unconstitutional
Colorado Assisted Suicide Act (C.A.S.A), which bans “any person from knowingly or intentionally promoting, facilitating, encouraging,
assisting, or causing a person to commit suicide” prevents mentally competent, dying individuals from choosing to shorten the period of suffering before death by self administered drugs prescribed for the purpose of hastening death. Colorado thereby violates the liberty guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment by enforcing C.A.S.A. Dr. Fountaine’s and Ms. Stephenson’s case does not require this Court to decide any moral or ethical dilemmas regarding how people should, or may, accept or confront their own death. Rather, it is this Court’s responsibility to recognize that citizens have a constitutionally protected right in making significant life decisions for themselves, such as hastening one’s own death or asking another for help in the same, without the umbrella of judicial or legislative imposition. The beginning of this case should be examined similar to that of Roe v Wade 410 U.S. 113, in the reproductive rights context. Under the liberty protected by substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, states should be permitted to regulate, not prohibit, physician assisted death. “The liberty protected by due process covers more than those freedoms explicitly named in the Bill of Rights…But such liberty can be limited if the state shows a compelling interest (not just a legitimate one)” Roe v. Wade 410 U.S. 113. States do possess a ‘compelling interest’ in preventing citizens from unnecessary death. However, this power extends to protecting the citizens from irrational, ill informed, or pressured decisions in that capacity. To that end, states do have the power to regulate and limit the assistance that physicians may give citizens who, in proper circumstances, express a wish to die. They do not, however, have the power to...
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