Gorsuch Testimony Opposing Aid in Dying Requires Rejecting His Nomination, Group Says

March 24, 2017
Kevin Diaz, National Director of Legal Advocacy for Compassion & Choices

Kevin Diaz, National Director of Legal Advocacy for Compassion & Choices

Compassion & Choices concluded today that Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation of his opposition in his book to medical aid in dying during his Senate hearings disqualifies him on this issue for the nation’s highest court.

Medical aid in dying is authorized in Judge Gorsuch’s home state of Colorado, California, the District of Columbia, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. These seven jurisdictions represent 18 percent of the nation’s population.

“We hoped Judge Gorsuch would testify he had dropped his opposition to medical aid in dying since he wrote his 2006 book about this intensely private personal and family issue,” said Kevin Díaz, national director of legal advocacy for Compassion & Choices, the nation’s largest end-of-life choice advocacy group, with 450,000 members nationwide. “Unfortunately, Judge Gorsuch repeatedly dodged opportunities to renounce his opposition to this end-of-life care option to peacefully end unbearable suffering, instead making statements consistent with those in his book.”

“California just passed an End of Life Option Act…so tell us what your position is in the situation with California’s End of Life Option Act,” asked Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.).

“…the position I took in the book on that was anything necessary to alleviate pain would be appropriate and acceptable, even if it caused death, not intentionally but knowingly,” testified Judge Gorsuch. “I drew a line between intent and knowingly.”

“Regrettably, the past apparently is prologue when it comes to this issue for Judge Gorsuch,” said Díaz. “But if he does get confirmed, we hope Judge Gorsuch proves us wrong and joins the majority of Americans who support this end-of-life care option.”

National and state polling consistently shows the vast majority of physicians and other Americans across the political and religious spectrum support medical aid in dying. Since January, legislation authorizing this end-of-life care option has been introduced in 24 states: Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.

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