William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal


Eunice Park


Physician-assisted suicide has become the subject of a hotly contested legal and political debate, both in the United States and abroad. In 1997, the United States Supreme Court rendered two decisions concerning physician-assisted suicide, and two states recently enacted legislation on this issue: Oregon in 1997 and Virginia in 1998. Nevertheless, the legality of physician-assisted suicide remains unclear as doctors, pharmacists, legal commentators, and a growing segment of the general population continue to argue over the line between "letting die" and "killing." This Note analyzes both the constitutional and political aspects of the right-to-die debate, focusing primarily on the political arguments and reasons why the assisted suicide issue should be resolved in the political arena.