J. David Bleich


In Part I, the author explains that it is the adjudication between the conflicting claims of individual liberty, personal autonomy and self-determination versus the preservation of life as a societal value that is at the core of the issue posed by physician-assisted suicide. In Part II, author makes the case against suicide, noting that liberty is not absolute and the state retains powers of sovereignty to curtail an individual’s liberty in the face of a countervailing state interest. In Part III, the author discusses the relevant case law relating to the withdrawal of medical treatment. Part IV concludes with a discussion of active suicide as distinguished from passive suicide. The state’s interest in preventing overt acts of suicide is far more compelling that an individual’s interest in refusing medical care.