No right to physician-assisted suicide, but doctors can discuss it with patients, US Court rules

Terminally ill patients do not have a constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide, a court for the US State of Massachusetts has ruled, but their doctors may provide them advice and information about it.

The ruling comes in a civil case brought by Dr. Roger Kligler, a retired Cape Cod physician who has advanced prostate cancer, and Dr. Alan Steinbach, who treats terminally ill patients.

The court rejected arguments that the euphemistically called ‘medical aid in dying’ should not be considered manslaughter, while also concluding that sharing advice and information about it is permissible. States that allow assisted suicide include Oregon, California and Vermont. When Massachusetts voted on such an end-of-life measure in 2012, it narrowly lost, with 51% of voters against it and 49% in favour.