His reasoning is not based on religious conviction but rather stems from his investigation of the subject stretching from ancient
In his 2006 book, "The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia," Gorsuch derided the idea that a person could take their own life as a way of achieving "death with dignity."
He wrote, "Human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable, and that the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong."
Gorsuch, whose nomination is to be taken up by the
Legalizing the practice, he said, could be a slippery slope. Doctors, insurance companies and the healthiest in society might wind up looking for ways to shorten the lives of the frail and the elderly to preserve resources for those with more promising futures. Doing so, he said, would have a disproportionate impact on the poor, the powerless and minorities who sometimes do not receive the same quality of medical care and pain-control management when they are ill.
"If a right to consensual homicide is eventually accepted into the law, we might ask what other ripple effects it could have on social and cultural norms. Why not, for example, allow individuals to sell their body parts or their lives?" he asked.
And he suggested that if killing became a professional duty under certain circumstances, medical care professionals may someday face "wrongful life" lawsuits from families upset their relatives suffered needlessly when a doctor or nurse failed to advocate for death.
Still, his book made clear that his views do not interfere with a right of individuals to choose through living wills to reject certain potentially life extending measures, such as the use of a ventilator. That right was established in a landmark court case brought after the parents of
Gorsuch's opposition to assisted suicide is among the reasons that abortion-rights and anti-abortion groups alike believe that Gorsuch generally would join conservative justices in voting to restrict abortion. Gorsuch himself has not had a lot to say about abortion, either in his book or in more than 10 years as a federal appeals court judge. He was careful to note in the book that in the seminal
Gorsuch's largely dispassionate analysis of assisted suicide and euthanasia was published by
In it, Gorsuch traced the history of assisted suicide from ancient
He notes, for instance, that it was referred to as "self-murder" in
By 1939, he said, a poll showed up to 46 percent of Americans favored some form of legal euthanasia.
The book contains few religious references, but he wrote: "Though the Bible nowhere explicitly forbids suicide, from its earliest days Christianity taught against the practice."
The book, catering to those interested in an in-depth legal analysis, had a limited audience until Gorsuch was nominated by President
The court left states free to resolve the question for themselves by voting 6 to 3 to reject then-Attorney General
In his book, Gorsuch wrote that in
That, he wrote, highlighted the question of whether assisted suicide was "a matter of necessity or more of a lifestyle choice for persons who have always tended to control their lives and now wish to control their death."
Poll after poll, he said, suggests that ethnic minorities in the
He predicted more northern states would pass laws within the next two decades allowing physician-assisted suicide. And if the issue reaches the
Besides, he added, "People can change their minds on this as they grow older or see suffering."
Associated Press Writer
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