Statistics Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide refer to deliberate action taken with the intention of ending a life, in order to relieve persistent suffering.
Legal, Ethical and Public Policy Implications Congress and state legislatures also are poised to consider various bills aimed at addressing end of life issues. These and other developments raise a host of questions. What role should the federal and state governments play in making or enforcing these decisions?
Please join our distinguished panel of experts as they discuss these and other questions. We plan to have many more of these types of events in the future and hope that all of you will be able to join us when we do.
Its mission is to provide timely information on important issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs. We are non-partisan in nature, which means that we take no positions on any topics or issues, including the ones we will be discussing today. The Federalist Society is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in law and public policy.
It is founded on the principle that the state exists to preserve freedom and that it is the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it ought to be.
The Society seeks to promote an awareness of these principles and to further them through its activities. While I am on the subject of our partners, I would like to thank Dean Reuter and David Ray of the Federalist Society, and Virginia Sloan and Spencer Boyer of the Constitution Project for their outstanding efforts and hard work in helping to organize this event.
We are here today to talk about the legal, ethical and public policy implications of end-of-life issues. The case involving Terri Schiavo dominated headlines for weeks before and after she died, leading to a public discussion on this issue that stirred the passions of people of all political stripes.
The subsequent death of Pope John Paul II, coming just a few weeks later and after a long bout with debilitating illness, also helped to stoke this debate. What is more, the focus on end-of-life issues is likely to continue. In the aftermath of Schiavo case, a number of state legislatures are considering new guidelines to govern end-of-life decisions.
Oregon is the only state law so far that allows for assisted suicide in cases involving the terminally ill. These events — past, present and future — throw up a host of questions, certainly too many for me to list here. On a very basic level, you might ask what principles should govern end-of-life decisions, and what role should the federal and state governments play in making and enforcing these decisions?
Here with us to answer these and other questions is a truly distinguished panel of experts. We have provided relatively detailed biographies of each of the speakers for you, but let me just briefly introduce each of them in the order in which they will appear.
Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Brock has written numerous articles on bioethics and moral and political philosophy. Gomez has received a number of important grants and honors, including the Humanism in Medicine Award.
Next up we will hear from R. Alta Charo, who is a professor of law and bioethics at both the law and medical schools at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Our final speaker today is Robert George, who is a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University where he also directs the James Madison Program on American Ideals and Institutions.
Like our previous guests, Dr. George is frequently quoted in print, and on radio and television; he is author of a number of critically acclaimed books and many articles; and is the recipient of a number of awards including most recently the Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement.
Now, before I hand things over to our first panelist, I would like to ask everyone to please turn off their cell phones and pagers so that the speakers and other audience members are not distracted during the presentation.
And now, without further adieu, let me give you Dan Brock. I think this panel is here, as David mentioned, in large part because of the Terri Schiavo case.
And probably a number of you are here in large part because of that and the political storm and controversy that it generated, and also because what it brought out was that there are some who see end-of-life decision-making as either broken or at least in need of revision from what has been the consensus that has developed.
As David mentioned, Congress is considering acting in this area — it has been holding hearings in this area — and a number of states are considering acting in this area.
So I think what I want to do is to start with what the consensus is and that may be useful for the whole panel. This is a consensus that has developed over the last 30 years, beginning with the Quinlan case, through a number of presidential commissions.
We have three different commissions I realized — chuckles — represented up here through a series of court cases and through a lot of bioethics literature and professional statements on this. So what is that consensus?
They have a right to select from among available alternative treatments or medically acceptable alternative treatments, but to refuse any treatment.DAVID MASCI: Good morning.
My name is David Masci and I am a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. On behalf of the Pew Forum, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy and the Constitution Project, it’s my great pleasure to welcome you today to a .
Four years after Brittany Maynard drew attention to physician-assisted death because of her terminal cancer diagnosis, the nation's largest physicians organization is again taking up the issue. DAVID MASCI: Good morning. My name is David Masci and I am a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
On behalf of the Pew Forum, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy and the Constitution Project, it’s my great pleasure to welcome you today to a .
Published reports and court records indicate that the majority of Kevorkian’s twenty-seven “patients” did not fall within the generally described category of “terminally ill” (life expectancy of six months or less). Assisted suicide is suicide aided by another person, sometimes a physician.
The term is often used interchangeably with physician-assisted suicide (PAS), which involves a doctor "knowingly and intentionally providing a person with the knowledge or means or both required to commit suicide, including counseling about lethal doses of drugs, prescribing such lethal doses or supplying the drugs.".
Calls to legalize physician-assisted suicide have increased and public interest in the subject has grown in recent years despite ethical prohibitions.