Legal Question in Constitutional Law in New York

Active Euthanasia and the Constitution


I would like to know whether the constitution refers in any way to active euthanasia.

If so, what are the contitutional principles that apply to the envolved people - the physician and the patient?

Thank you very much in advance,


Asked on 7/15/04, 5:21 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman

Re: Active Euthanasia and the Constitution

The U.S. Constitution says nothing about euthanasia, or about any other health/medical issues. The various states have enacted laws which either permit or prohibit various types of euthanasia. When courts review these laws they base their decisions on precedent, i.e. prior case law, including many cases dealing with the right to privacy. The constitution says nothing about privacy either, but a general right to privacy has been inferred from the principles embodied in various parts of the constitution.

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Answered on 7/15/04, 5:59 pm

Stephen Loeb Law Office of Stephen R. Loeb

Re: Active Euthanasia and the Constitution

I assume you are referring to the U.S. Constitution. It is silent on euthenasia. However in a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the 1970's the Court interprerted the a right to privacy inherent constitution principles which must be honored if it is specifically known that a person did not want medical treatment to prolong life that could not be sustained naturally.

This was a very narrow ruling. 1) The person must have made their feelings actually known. 2) It could not be inferrred 3) A doctor(or other) cannot actively participate to hasten death but if the person's desires are on the record then a hospital should not interfere and let nature take its course.

Should you like to discuss this or any other legal matter, you can call my office to schedule an appointment for a consultation or in the alternative, I can be reached for on-phone low-cost legal consultation at 1-800-275-5336 x0233699.

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Answered on 7/16/04, 9:02 am

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