Assisted suicide is the act of suicide with the aid of a doctor or physician. This is often confused with physician-assisted suicide, were the doctor provides the patient with a lethal dose of drugs to be administered if and when the patient chooses. The act of voluntary euthanasia is much different, and includes the doctor administering the dose to the patient. The Supreme Court ruled that assisted suicide is not a liberty given by the constitution, however they granted individual states the right to create legislation that permits or prohibits the act of assisted suicide. The constitutional ideal of liberty and happiness, directly applies to the right-to-die for terminally ill individuals. When someone has an incurable disease, an extremely short life expectancy, or suffers from significant pain, assisted suicide is an objectively rational choice. The constitution also guarantees the right to due process. The due process clause, included in the fourteenth amendment, states that: “no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” The Supreme Court decision in Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, covered the constitutionality of a patient’s right to refuse medical treatment in relation to the fourteenth amendment. The Supreme Court ruled that the due process clause along with the presence of “clear and convincing evidence” for the patients wish, protects their liberty to refuse medical treatment. This ruling included cases where refusal of medical services would lead to the patient’s death. Physician-assisted-suicide should be a right guaranteed to every citizen under federal law. Although the government has interests in the preservation of life and the protection of ethical medical practice, and individual has the right to choose whether to live or die, a liberty interest protected under the fourteenth amendment.HISTORY OF TOPICThe idea of assisted suicide has not always been on the frontline of politics, however the debate is not a new one. The Hippocratic Oath, an agreement most medical professionals still swear to was written over 2000 years ago. It includes the statement: “I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.” Discussion over a patient’s right to die has been an issue for thousands of years, but advocacy for the cause has only arisen in the last century. In 1938, National Society for the Legalization of Euthanasia Founded was founded by a retired doctor. Through the 1900s various organizations in favor of assisted suicide were founded and legislation was rejected. Public opinion began to change, however no real progress was made until the 90s, when a doctor began performing voluntary euthanasia on his patients. Jack Kevorkian was an pathologist who advocated for the right to voluntary euthanasia. Dr. Kevorkian claims to have assisted over 130 terminally ill individual to commit suicide with his “suicide machine”. He served eight years in prison for a widely publicized case where he helped a patient administer a lethal dose of drugs, then broadcasted it on 60 minutes. He was released from prison in 2007, and died four years later. Kevorkian brought the fight for physician assisted suicide into the public eye, and lead the charge for patients rights. In 1997 Supreme Court ruled against a citizen’s given right to assisted suicide, however, it was later decided that the decision should be up to the state governments. Medical aid in dying is currently legal in five states including, Oregon (Death with Dignity Act), California (End of Life Option Act), Washington State (Death with Dignity Act), Montana (Baxter v. Montana), Colorado (Proposition 106), District of Columbia (Death with Dignity Act), and Vermont (Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act). (“Take Action – States with Assisted Dying Laws.”)OPPOSITION ARGUMENT The debate over the morality of assisted suicide has long been divided, although the Supreme Court has recognized a patient’s right to refuse medical treatment, many states don’t recognize a patient’s right to cause their own death. Individuals opposed to assisted suicide argue that the right to refuse medical treatment is an established right that protects patients from invasions of their bodily privacy. But that physician assisted death, is an entirely different situation. Assisted death implements the physician into the act of suicide, by prescribing lethal drugs or administering those drugs to directly cause the death of another person. (“Department of Health.” When Death Is Sought)This argument was confirmed by Washington state’s law (RCW 9A.36.060) that criminally implemented any physician in promoting anyone to cause their own death. “A person is guilty of promoting a suicide attempt when he knowingly causes or aids another person to attempt suicide.” (“RCW 9A.36.060: Promoting a Suicide Attempt.”) Although this statute was later changed by the Natural Death Act in Washington, it reflects the interest of the government in preserving ethical standards in the medical practice. The Supreme Court has stated their concerns over the protection of government interests and the common good in numerous cases including: Washington v. Glucksburg and Vacco v. Quill. The court maintained that they had interests in the safe distribution of controlled substances and the prevention of abuse, as well as preserving life and preventing suicide, significant interests for the common good. “prohibiting intentional killing and preserving life; preventing suicide; maintaining physicians’ role as their patients’ healers; protecting vulnerable people from indifference, prejudice, and psychological and financial pressure to end their lives; and avoiding a possible slide towards euthanasia.” The court decided that the because of these reasons, the ban on assisted suicide was related to government legislation: “satisfy the constitutional requirement that a legislative classification bear a rational relation to some legitimate end.” The argument that the use of drugs with the intention of ending a patient’s life is a violation of the of the Controlled Substances Act was made by the attorney general. He challenged Oregon state’s Death with Dignity Act, claiming that it was in violation of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. The due process clause included in the fourteenth amendment states that: “no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” This protects every citizens right to refuse medical treatment as well as a patient’s right to die, with the presence of “clear and convincing evidence” that they are suffering.YOUR ARGUMENTThe right to die is a substantive liberty interest protected under the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment. One of the more important arguments for assisted suicide is that it reduces suffering in those who have a terminal illness. When a patient is suffering from unbearable pain, a short life expectancy, or a terminal illness, it is an objectively rational choice to choose to end one’s life. Since the Supreme Court case Cruzan v. Director (1976), the right to refuse life sustaining treatment has been recognized by states. Given the right of a patient to refuse treatment even if that decision results in their death grants an important question: Does this mean the right to assisted suicide should be attached to this statute? The right to this should be both recognized and guaranteed to every citizen. If a patient has the right to tell doctors to remove life support, which would end their life, they should also be able to choose when this happens. The right for terminally ill patients to decide if and when you die should be inalienable. The right to liberty which includes the due process clause is essential to the constitutional right and ideal of liberty. In 1997, a group of doctors took Washington’s ban on assisted death to the Supreme Court. Glucksburg argued that the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment protected a patient’s liberty to choose. The Washington circuit and district courts ruled against Washington, however the case was appealed to the Supreme court. The court ruled that the right to die was not a fundamental liberty guaranteed by the constitution, however they did not ban the practice. The decision granted the states the right to regulate assisted suicide through “serious, thoughtful examinations of physician-assisted suicide. and the circumstances that require it.” The Supreme Court failed to uphold the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment in their decision not to recognize this as a fundamental right. Chief Justice William Rehnquist stated: “Constitution also requires, however, that Washington’s assisted suicide ban be rationally related to legitimate government interests. Washington’s ban was rationally related to the state’s interest in, above all, the protection of human life. The court found legitimate state interests in protecting medical ethics and protecting disabled and terminally ill people from facing pressure to end their lives.” Keeping in mind the government’s interests there is a balance to be found with individual patient’s rights. If the court were to recognize an individual’s right to die, they would be able to pass legislation that would protect seniors and the medical profession from abuse of this practice.