Vacco Vs Quill Court Transcript

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1 Vacco v. Quill 521 U.S. 793 Frank J. Head Jr. Ashford University POL 303 Instructor Kelli Callahan September 13, 2011 2 Dr. Timothy Quill, along with other doctors, argued that the New York state ban of physician-assisted suicide violated the Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that “no state would be allowed to abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens”. Although more than one physician had ties to this case the main parties involved were the attorney general of New York against Dr.Timothy E. Quill, Samuel C. Klagsbrun, and Howard A. Grossman. In 1997 New York law stated that it was a crime for physicians to euthanize patients; however the law allowed patients to refuse lifesaving treatment. After much deliberation ultimately the Supreme Court unanimously voted 9-0 that euthanasia in fact did not violate the Equal Protection Clause. Although patients are able to refuse lifesaving treatment, the Court held that there is a clear difference between treatment refusal and criminal intent and that the states have the authority to determine the constitutionality of physician assisted suicide, not the federal government. Physician assisted suicide is when a doctor or a trained medical professional assists, in the form of “information, guidance”, or action, someone to kill themselves (National Right to Life Association). Many terminally ill patients rely on doctors when suffering has reached their limit, cognizant of their powerful drugs and medication that will make dying easier. The main constitutional issue within Vacco v. Quill involves the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment, which states that no state can deny any persons “equal protection of the laws”. It questioned whether New York’s law of banning physician-assisted suicide violated the 14th amendment’s Equal Protection Clause by allowing

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