Is there a right to physician-assisted suicide?

Martin Carcieri • DECEMBER 2, 2014

Martin Carcieri of San Francisco State University examines whether there is a right to physician-assisted suicide. Under current law, physician-assisted suicide is legal in four states for patients who meet predetermined criteria. (Those criteria include mental competence; a determination by two doctors that the patient has less than six months to live; and the patient must request the lethal dose twice across a span of at least two weeks.) According to Carcieri, states are moving in the right direction, but they ought to be considering enacting broader protection of this right that would allow all individuals 70 years or older to make the same choice. Carcieri draws from John Rawls's Principle of Equal Liberty to argue for a concept of bodily autonomy that is compatible with a suicide right.

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