In 1997, Oregon passed a Death with Dignity law that allowed terminally ill patients to take medication that would end their lives. Last year, 208 Oregonians took advantage of that ability, roughly .1% of the total number of deaths in Oregon.
Now President Bush's administration is challenging Oregon's law under the premise that it is an improper use of medication and thus violates federal food and drug laws.
The article lists arguments from supporters and opponents of the law. Proponents point to the fact that the few people who do use it are highly educated, intelligent strong people who know what they are doing. They point out that the law allows people to elect to do so in a terminally ill position while not requiring it of anyone.
Opponents point out that undermines the traditional doctor's role as a healer, as the medicine kills you. They assert that it teaches elderly and sick people that their lives aren't worth protecting and that suicide isn't worth preventing.
I haven't done the research into the FDA regulations, nor am I likely to. I have too much on my plate with school and family to do so. My guess is that there's going to be some line in the FDA regs that says something to the effect of "medication must be used for some healing or treating purpose," and that the argument is that killing a person isn't treating them. Although, if you turn your brain around right, you could suggest that killing a terminally ill patient relieves them of their pain, which is what morphine drips and various other medications for terminally ill patients do. But I digress.
I sort of hope this turns on a 10th Amendment issue. This item is one that is not enumerated in the Constitution, and there are no federal laws pursuant to its prohibition. As such, it stands to reason that it should be relegated to the states. Isn't that the RvW argument?