Editorial: AG makes right choice in aid-in-dying appeal

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King is right to ask the state Court of Appeals to weigh in on a recent District Court ruling that bars prosecution of physicians if they assist terminally ill patients in dying.

In January, state District Judge Nan Nash of Albuquerque ruled the state’s Assisted Suicide statute, which prohibits such action, violates citizens’ constitutional rights. “This court cannot envision a right more fundamental, more private or more integral to the liberty, safety and happiness of a New Mexican than the right of a competent, terminally ill patient to choose aid in dying,” she said in the ruling.

Of course that is Nash’s interpretation of the Constitution, which doesn’t directly deal with the subject. Or perhaps her view of what the Constitution should say.

Nash’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Compassion and Choices, a national advocacy group that has said it is willing to fight an appeal. It was filed on behalf of a Santa Fe woman who has uterine cancer that is in remission.

In filing the appeal, King says that if people want to change that law, the Legislature is the proper venue to make that change. He has said previous efforts to enact aid-in-dying laws have failed to clear committee.

King maintains it’s important to get the law settled in controversial cases. “If we don’t, I would expect there would be a case filed in another district,” he said previously. “(We’re) trying to make sure all of our government officials understand what their obligations are.”

Among concerns stated by opponents of aid in dying are possible human error in identifying patients who are truly terminally ill and ensuring patients are competent to make the decision and not under pressure.

This is an important issue that demands a clear statewide rule for physicians, patients and their families, instead of life-and-death decisions being made case by case, judge by judge. And, it’s an important separation of powers question. Who should legislate? Elected lawmakers or judges?

King is spot-on in seeking higher guidance for New Mexicans.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

Share Your Story

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango


taboola desktop


Editorial: Proposed stadium PAC's fact vs. fiction deserves a ...
It's at least worth a yellow ... It's at least worth a yellow card.The pro-stadium political action committee funded by ...
Editorial: '19 NM law may get more students hooked ...
Many Journal letter writers — including ... Many Journal letter writers — including current and former educators — insist it's ...
Editorial: DOJ reform process ready for a do-over
"The pendulum has swung too far ... "The pendulum has swung too far ... where officers do not feel supported, or that they can do their ...
Local animal shelters face their own housing crisis
Despite all that's going on, the ... Despite all that's going on, the treatment of animals is a measure of how, well, humane a society is.
Editorial: State-run prisons are a smart but costly course ...
Staffing prisons is often tough. So ... Staffing prisons is often tough. So it was hoped during the administration of former Gov. Gary Johns ...
Editorial: ABQ speed vans can't have a profit motive
City leaders agree Albuquerque has a ... City leaders agree Albuquerque has a problem with dangerous speeding and racing. Officers conducting ...
Editorial: We need a shot surge
As the delta variant of COVID-19 ... As the delta variant of COVID-19 continues to produce hundreds of new cases a day in New Mexico with ...
Editorial: NM needs O&G, environmentalists, regulators and residents to ...
With a methane cloud hanging over ... With a methane cloud hanging over the San Juan Basin so big scientists can see it from outer space, ...
'Dark Winds' should boost Hillerman's legacy
It's become easy to ignore news ... It's become easy to ignore news stories about the latest movies or TV shows being made in New Mexico. There are so many film ...