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April 19, 2019

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
It is no longer being maintained. We apologize for any stale or broken links.
Featured Program

Compassion or Killing: Doctor Assisted Suicide
Last Featured: 4/12/1999

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Are laws that prohibit doctors from assisting terminally ill patients in ending their own lives constitutional? Do these laws violate an individual`s right to make autonomous decisions or do they protect against state-sanctioned killing?

Barbara Coombs Lee is the Executive Director of Compassion in Dying Federation, a national organization that seeks to expand end-of-life choices to include aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults and is the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case at issue in today's debate. Ms. Lee's career spans the practice of medicine and law. Ms. Lee received her undergraduate education at Vassar College and Cornell University and was certified as a family nurse practitioner and physician assistant by the University of Washington. After practicing in the fields of family medicine and cardiology at Oregon Health Sciences University, Ms. Lee returned to Lewis and Clark School of Law where she obtained her J.D. Degree in 1989. Since then Ms. Lee has been a health policy analyst at George Washington University, administrator and counsel to the Oregon State Senate, a senior executive in a national health care company, and in the private practice of law. Ms. Lee, who holds an associate teaching position at the University of Washington, was co-author and chief petitioner of Oregon's Death with Dignity Act.

James Bopp, Jr. is an attorney and scholar who has argued constitutional issues in numerous civil rights cases dealing with abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and assisted suicide. A graduate of Indiana University, he received his J.D. degree from the University of Florida College of Law in 1973. Mr. Bopp is the founder and has served as the President of the National Legal Center for the Medically Dependent and Disabled since 1984. In this position, Bopp has been at the forefront of the legal battles on the

Closing Quote
"It is a platitude that we live our whole lives in the shadow of death; it is also true that we die in the shadow of our whole lives. . . We cannot understand what death means to people; why some would rather be dead than existing permanently sedated or incompetent, why others would want to 'fight on' even in terrible pain or even when they are unconscious and cannot savor the fight. We cannot understand any of this, or much else that people feel about death, unless we turn away from death for a while and back to life. . ."

— Philosopher and lawyer, Ronald Dworkin

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Join the Debate
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Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.
National Right to Life Committee
International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force
Not Dead Yet
Compassion in Dying
The Hemlock Society USA
Hospice Foundation of America
American Hospice Foundation
National Hospice Organization
The Oregon Death with Dignity Act
Derek Humphry.
Before I Die
National Public Radio:
Angell, The Supreme Court and Physician-Assisted Suicide -- The Ultimate Right, The New England Journal of Medicine -- January 2, 1997 -- Vol. 336, No. 1.
Foley, Competent Care for the Dying Instead of Physician-Assisted Suicide, The New England Journal of Medicine -- January 2, 1997 -- Vol. 336, No. 1.
The Growth House Guide to Death with Dignity
The Growth House Guide to Hospice and Home Care
Center for Clinical Ethics and Humanities in Health Care
Ethical Issues in Death and Dying
by Tom L. Beauchamp (Editor) and Robert M. Veatch (Editor)
Human Life and Health Care Ethics (Horatio R. Storer Series in Ethics, Law, and Medicine, Vol 2)
by James, Jr. Bopp
Seduced by Death : Doctors, Patients and Assisted Suicide
by Herbert Hendin
The Law and Infectious Disease
Is There a Right to Health Care?
Have Health Officials Become the Diet Police?