Morris v. New Mexico
Aja Riggs, a New Mexico woman with advanced uterine cancer, and physicians Katherine Morris and Aroop Mangalik are asking a New Mexico court to rule that the state’s statute against “assisting suicide” does not cover the medical practice of aid in dying.
The choice of a dying patient for a peaceful death is no kind of ‘suicide,’ the case asserts, and the physician does not assist such a patient in ‘committing suicide.’ Laura Schauer Ives, managing attorney for the ACLU of New Mexico, and Compassion & Choices Director of Legal Affairs Kathryn Tucker represent the plaintiffs.
Ms. Riggs, Dr. Morris and Dr. Mangalik are asking the court to declare that physicians who provide a prescription for medication to a mentally competent, terminally ill patient, which the patient could consume to bring about a peaceful death, would not be subject to criminal prosecution under existing New Mexico law, which makes a crime of assisting another to ‘commit suicide.’
Katherine Morris, MD, is a surgical oncologist, a cancer researcher and an assistant professor of medicine. Dr. Aroop Mangalik is a practicing oncologist as well as a clinical researcher in internal medicine and hematology-oncology, and a professor of medicine.