Assisted Suicide

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to America's only assisted-suicide law.

Justices will review a lower court ruling that says the U-S government can't punish or hold doctors criminally liable for prescribing overdoses. The Bush administration is pushing to stop doctors from helping terminally ill patients die when they want.

The lower court ruling affirmed Oregon's voter-approved Death with Dignity Act. Since 1998, more than 170 people, mostly cancer patients, have used the law to end their lives.

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft filed the appeal last November, saying that physician-assisted suicide is not a "legitimate medical purpose."

Oregon lawyers say states have generally been responsible for regulating doctors.

The court will hear the case in its next term, beginning in October.

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