End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

Posts TaggedNew Mexico

Court Rules Aid in Dying Is a Fundamental Right Under NM Constitution

Landmark Case May Set Precedent for Challenging “Assisted Suicide” Laws in Other States

(Albuquerque, N.M. – January 13, 2014) New Mexico Second Judicial District Judge Nan Nash today issued a landmark decision that terminally ill, mentally competent patients have a fundamental right to aid in dying under the substantive due process clause of the New Mexico State Constitution. This ruling protects the medical practice from prosecution in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. If affirmed, the ruling will impact the entire state.

Judge Nash explained her ruling as follows:

“This Court cannot envision a right more fundamental, more private or more integral to the liberty, safety and happiness of a New Mexican than the right of a competent, terminally ill patient to choose aid in dying. If decisions made in the shadow of one’s imminent death regarding how they and their loved ones will face that death are not fundamental and at the core of these constitutional guarantees, than [sic] what decisions are? … The Court therefore declares that the liberty, safety and happiness interest of a competent, terminally ill patient to choose aid in dying is a fundamental right under our New Mexico Constitution.”

Nash’s ruling followed two days of trial testimony on Dec. 11-12 in a suit, Morris v. New Mexico, filed in the state’s Second Judicial District Court by the ACLU of New Mexico and Compassion & Choices on behalf of two physicians and a cancer patient. More