Judge Karen Asphaug: Minnesota law on assisted suicide unconstitutional

Although Dr. Jack Kevorkian was controversial to many, there were many people such as myself who praised him for supporting the sanctity of life.  Death is simply the final stage of our physical existence.

My wife and I had cats, and we now have dogs.  Together we experienced two instances when we had to terminate our pet’s lives through the vet.  It was painful, but to ensure our beloved pets did not suffer, it gave us the courage to do what was right for them.

The controversy over assisted euthanasia of human beings should be another non-issue.  Religious organizations are the only groups who adamantly oppose it, and they have no right to dictate to others how they live or how they end their lives.

A courageous decision was made in Hastings, Minnesota today.  Judge Karen Asphaug ruled Minnesota’s law against assisted suicide is unconstitutionally overboard. She dismissed charges against Thomas Goodwin, former president of Final Exit Network.

An article in My SA, a San Antonio Texas publication reported that last year four members of the organization were indicted for their assistance in the 2007 death of Doreen Dunn.  The four were accused of providing information that assisted Ms. Dunn in a process which ended her life.

Minnesota has a law that prohibits “encouraging” the end of life.  The organization claims that it is unconstitutional because it violates “freedom of speech”.

This issue is not dissimilar to abortion.  Are we controlled by religious beliefs, or are we the “sole decision makers” about our own bodies?  If our “inalienable rights” are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, are pain and a life filled with a purpose solely concerned with physical existence of more importance than the guarantee of our Constitution?

The Supreme Court is possibly the most corrupt and failed branch of our government.  Their sole purpose is to protect or overturn laws that are prescribed by the Constitution.  In reality, the Court is defined by the balance of its nine members.  If the members of the court were appointed by a Republican President they vote one way, Democratic the other.

This was not the intention of our founding fathers.  Regardless of appointment, they are supposed to painstakingly analyze every paragraph, sentence and word of the legal issues brought before them.  Their decision must be based on our most cherished “living document” the Constitution.

All three branches of our government, the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial are expected to act on behalf of the citizens of the United States.  Our individual rights are to be protected.

Every man and woman must be allowed to choose the way they live their lives, and the way they end them.  Life is a journey.  It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Whatever the length of time that might involve is and must be the decision of each individual.  We are not a country founded on religion, contrary to what most people believe.  If you are a religious individual and choose to live by the dictations of that religion, that is your choice.  But, you do not have the power to force me to live or die by your standards.

If you followed the history of Jack Kevorkian, you may understand why he was a hero to me.  He truly cared about the pain and suffering of others.  He was not seeking fame, fortune, or recognition for his actions, he cared only for the pain and suffering of those he helped.

Judge Asphaug was both correct and courageous.  I commend her.

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

One Response to "Judge Karen Asphaug: Minnesota law on assisted suicide unconstitutional"

  1. Raoul Duke   March 23, 2013 at 12:19 am

    I agree with most of the article, but just had to point out the hilarious juxtaposition of saying the supreme court should be looking things over, paragraph by paragraph, in an article filled with so many typos. Even the headline did not escape. 😉


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