Aid In Dying Case Back In Court

Jan 23, 2015

Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union will square off with the Attorney General's Office in court on Monday, Jan. 26, about whether terminally ill New Mexicans can choose to end their lives. 

District Court Judge Nan Nash ruled a year ago that physicians in New Mexico should be able to prescribe life-ending medications to terminally ill patients. This practice is called “aid in dying,” and the distinction is patients administer the medication themselves. 

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There was pushback from the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops for religious and ethical reasons. Then-Attorney General Gary King filed an appeal last year, arguing the Legislature—and not the courts—should make the call. Lawyer Laura Schauer-Ives and the local chapter of the ACLU disagree.

"As a general principal," she said, "it should not be the rights of the majority dictating what is in this instance really a very tiny minority who has genuine political powerlessness." 

Schauer-Ives said she doesn’t know whether the case will be argued any differently because New Mexico has a new attorney general, Hector Balderas.