Washington V. Glucksberg Case

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Washington v. Glucksberg Price, 5

Washington v. Glucksberg: Right to Privacy

Roseanna Price

Liberty High School

AP Government: 4A

Washington v. Glucksberg (1997) was a controversial case dealing with physician assisted suicide (IIT Chicago- Kent College of Law, 2015). Physician assisted suicide is a competent decision by the patient to have their doctor prescribe them drugs to give themselves to eradicate themselves (Materstvedt, 2003). Washington law states that anyone who knowingly cause or helps in another person attempting suicide is guilty of promoting suicide, i.e physician assisted suicide. In Washington promoting suicide is a felony and the perpetrator can be subjected up to five years in prison (Washington
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Harold Glucksberg, the plaintiff. The state of Washington first established the ban of physician assisted suicide in 1854, by Washington?s First Territorial Legislature. Dr. Glucksberg, four other physicians, three terminally ill patients, and a non-profit group that gave advice to those who were contemplating suicide, felt strongly enough about this ban to bring it to the U.S Supreme Court. Dr. Glucksberg felt that he should be allowed to provide whatever treatment that made his terminally ill patients comfortable even if that meant providing the tools to kill their self (Washington v. Glucksberg: Influence of the Court in Care of the Terminally Ill and Physician Assisted Suicide, 2001). Dr. Glucksberg and his acquaintances thought that the right to assist in a mentally competent patient?s suicide was protected by the 14th Amendment and that it was one of their liberties protected by the Constitution (Washington v. Glucksberg, 1997). Was banning physician assisted- suicide unconstitutional according to the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause by denying deathly ill, competent people the right to end their suffering? This was the constitutional question that was asked. This question correlated with the fourteenth amendment and the due process clause (ITT Chicago- Kent College of Law, 2015). When the question was contemplated whether or not the ban was constitutional or not, the debating started with was the option to even assist with suicide ?deeply rooted in this Nation?s history and tradition,? (Shepherd,
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