Indeed the silent are not absent, just apathetic over the littany of personal tid bits and lack of controversy. I had this one on the back burner for a couple of days, and since you prompted I will answer.
Fish out of water!
As you are probably aware, the supreme court just announced its 6-3 vote to uphold the state of Oregon's physician assisted suicide law. This is of acute interest to myself and my colleagues because it has been suggested that other states may follow suit. I am sure you legal types can find a more authoritative source to post than MSNBC on the matter, the article does link to full and abridged versions of the majority opinion, however. Some firestarters:
1. The law in Oregon allows a Physician to write a prescription for a lethal oral dose of barbiturates for patients with a documented terminal illness for which life expectancy is less than six months. It is up to the patient to request, fill, and administer the prescription. Thus, theoretically, some degree of initiative and mental capacity is required to follow through. The nature of the law also prohibits chronically immobile patients and patients who cannot take medication by mouth from receiving the drugs. Self-administration is key.
2. About 30 people a year in Oregon have used the prescription to take their own lives since its enactment in 1997, representing 1 in every 1000 deaths in Oregon. Many more have requested the prescription though.
3. It has been suggested, although not proven, that the law has had dramatic effects on palliative care in Oregon. Namely that physicians, when faced with the spectre of a patient who could successfully take his/her own life, are more likely to take care to assess patient pain and overall comfort than otherwise. For many this represents the major victory of the legislation.
So, what do we think about PAS? What do we think about Justice Roberts in the dissenter's corner with Scalia and Thomas? Is taking ones own life inherently immoral? Why? Is the Department of Justice's argument that prescription of barbiturates for PAS is not "a legitimate medical purpose" valid? Is there a better argument for federal jurisdiction over this kind of legislation? Enjoy, but please, stay in the pool....and no diving.