Document Type

Article

Abstract

In this article, Professor Clark explores the contours of the current debate over physician-assisted death. She begins by focusing on the legal issues raised by statutory attempts to either legalize or criminalize physician-assisted death, with particular emphasis on the constitutional questions that are currently before the United States Supreme Court. She then examines physician-assisted death from both medical and societal perspectives. Professor Clark uses a thought experiment in which assisted death is facilitated by persons other than physicians, and in doing so, questions whether physicians are the proper persons in whom to wrest power over assisted death. She points out the irony in a process that would set up physicians as protectors of individual autonomy, and ultimately concludes that by deferring to the medical profession in this process, we risk losing the very autonomy that assisted death is designed to effectuate.