Ninth Circuit upholds Oregon's "death with dignity" act, tells Ashcroft & the DOJ to butt out:
A federal appeals court ordered the Bush administration not to meddle with a state's assisted suicide law, ruling Wednesday that doctors in Oregon may prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients.
Ruling on the nation's only law that allows doctors to assist in hastening the death of a patient, the court said U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft cannot sanction or hold Oregon doctors criminally liable for prescribing overdoses, as the state's voter-approved Death With Dignity Act allows.
"The attorney general's unilateral attempt to regulate general medical practices historically entrusted to state lawmakers interferes with the democratic debate about physician assisted suicide," wrote Judge Richard Tallman in the 2-1 opinion by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He said Ashcroft's action "far exceeds the scope of his authority under federal law."
Here's a summary of the decision put out by the court. Here's the decision. This is an issue I feel very strongly about, and an area that made me go into health care law in the first place.