Kevorkian v. Thompson
Federal Supplement 1997; 947: 1152-1179
Court Decision: 947 Federal Supplement, 1152; 1997 Jan 6 (date of decision). The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan held that a mentally competent patient who is terminally ill or intractably suffering does not have a liberty interest in assisted suicide under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and is not denied equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff Jack Kevorkian is a physician who advocates the right to die and assists patients to commit suicide. Plaintiff Janet Good, the former president of the Michigan Hemlock Society, suffers from terminal pancreatic cancer. The plaintiffs claimed that Michigan's statute prohibiting physician-assisted suicide is unconstitutional. The District Court held there is no cognizable constitutional right to assisted suicide because the right to suicide or assisted suicide is not deeply rooted in the nation's history and traditions, and because the statute does not infringe on any fundamental right or liberty. The court also held that the plaintiff was not denied equal protection under Michigan law and first noted a difference between the withdrawal of life support and acts to hasten death by assisted suicide. The court further held that the law against physician-assisted suicide furthered legitimate state interests in denying to physicians "the role of killers of their patients," in regulating circumstances under which life may be ended, and in protecting the vulnerable but viable from "self-interested importuning of third parties." [KIE/INW]
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An Update on the Kevorkian-Reding 93 Physician-Assisted Deaths in Michigan: Is Kevorkian a Savior, Serial-Killer or Suicidal Martyr? Kaplan, Kalman J.; O'Dell, Jyll; Dragovic, Ljubisa J.; McKeon, M. Catherine; Bentley, Emily; Telmet, Kaja L. (1999)