NRL News

New Mexico Attorney General appeals assisted suicide lower court decision

by | Mar 12, 2014


By Alex Schadenberg, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition – International Chair

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King

Today we learned that Gary King, the New Mexico Attorney General, has appealed a lower court decision that found a right to assisted suicide in the New Mexico State Constitution.

In “Morris v New Mexico,” Judge Nan Nash of the Second Judicial District in New Mexico held that New Mexico doctors could prescribe lethal drugs to assist the suicide deaths of their patients. The Albuquerque Journal reported on that January 13, 2014, decision, noting that “Nash found that the right exists under the New Mexico Constitution, which prohibits the state from depriving a person of life, liberty or property without due process.”

The plaintiff claimed that “aid in dying,” also known as assisted suicide or physician-assisted suicide, is not prohibited by the 1963 New Mexico assisted suicide law because “aid in dying” is not assisted suicide. Alternatively, the plaintiff argued, if “aid in dying” is assisted suicide, then the New Mexico assisted suicide law is unconstitutional because it undermines the right to privacy and autonomy.

Nash agreed, writing, “This court cannot envision a right more fundamental, more private or more integral to the liberty, safety and happiness of a New Mexican than the right of a competent, terminally ill patient to choose aid in dying.”

But “aid in dying” is assisted suicide and assisted suicide does not constitute medical treatment. Therefore prohibiting assisted suicide does not undermine the right to privacy or autonomy.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is pleased that Attorney General King appealed the activist decision by Judge Nan Nash. We hope that a higher court will overturn this decision.

EPC thanks all of the people who contacted Gary King, by email, phone, and through the online petition.

Editor’s note. This appeared at