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ADF asks MA Supreme Court to uphold protections for terminally ill, disabled

ADF attorneys file friend-of-the-court brief in support of Massachusetts’ prohibition on assisted suicide
Kligler v. Healey

BOSTON – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief Wednesday with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in support of the commonwealth’s prohibition of physician-assisted suicide.

On behalf of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA, ADF attorneys filed the brief in Kligler v. Healey. The brief asks the court to uphold the Massachusetts law and to preserve the “well settled” distinction between “withdrawing or refusing life-sustaining medical treatment” and “attempting suicide.”

“Every human life—regardless of disability or illness—is of great value, and the government must do all it can to preserve life, especially for the most vulnerable who cannot advocate for themselves,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “There is no constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide in Massachusetts or any other state, and we hope the court will uphold the commonwealth’s longstanding history and tradition of prohibiting this perversion of a physician’s oath and duty to ‘do no harm.’”

As the friend-of-the-court brief explains, those challenging Massachusetts’ protections for the terminally ill “seek to establish a previously unrecognized right to ‘medical aid in dying,’ where a doctor prescribes lethal medication for use in committing suicide. But the widespread prohibition—not acceptance—of assisted suicide is deeply rooted in Massachusetts’ and the Nation’s history and tradition. And the vast majority of states and secular medical associations still oppose it today. Creating a right to physician-assisted suicide would not be a mere expansion of the right to refuse life-saving treatment. The right to reject treatment is based on the common-law right to reject a battery. And death occurs, if at all, by natural causes. Assisted suicide is different: it invites the intrusion of a lethal agent into the patient’s body, intentionally causing death.”

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA is a national network that opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide, supporting positive measures to improve the quality of life of people and their families.

  • Pronunciation guide: Theriot (TAIR’-ee-oh)


Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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