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Quality of life at the end of life

Gorsuch Offers Emotional Response To Assisted Suicide Question


Neil Gorsuch became emotional during his confirmation hearing when discussing physician-assisted suicide.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., questioned President Donald Trump’s conservative Supreme Court nominee on the issue last week.

Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, highlighted her home state, which recently passed the End of Life Options Act, which allows some terminally ill adults to end their lives with doctor-prescribed barbiturates.

“I, in my life, have seen people die horrible deaths, family, of cancer, when there was no hope,” Feinstein said. “And my father begging me, ‘Stop this, Dianne, I’m dying.’”

Feinstein said she was worried about Gorsuch’s opinion on the controversial issue, partly because of his book on the practice.

In his 2006 book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, Gorsuch rejected the case for legalizing the practice because “human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and the taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

Gorsuch offered legislators his connection to the issue.

“We’ve all been through it. My heart goes out to you. It does. I’ve been there with my dad,” Gorsuch said  “And others. And at some point, you want to be left alone. Enough with the poking and the prodding. I want to go home and die in my own bed in the arms of my family.”

Gorsuch said he believes people should have the freedom to take extraordinary measures to stop pain and suffering.

“Anything necessary to alleviate pain would be appropriate, and acceptable, even if it caused death,” Gorsuch added. “Not intentionally, but knowingly. I drew a line between intent and knowingly. And I’ve been there. I have been there.”

Physician-assisted suicide is legal in only a handful of states including Washington, Oregon, Vermont and Montana. California Gov. Jerry Brown was the latest governor to sign a “right-to-die” proposal into law.

Despite calls for legalization from a growing number of proponents, the American Medical Association remains firmly opposed to such policy.

– Image courtesy WikiMedia Commons