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In Connecticut, a Superior Court judge has rejected a request from two doctors who sought to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill, mentally competent patients who asked for help to die peacefully.

In dismissing the doctors’ case, Judge Julia Aurigemma wrote that a state law against assisting suicide applied to physicians helping dying patients end their lives, and that the issues raised in the doctors’ lawsuit should be addressed by the legislature, not the courts.

“[The statute] is aimed at precisely the situation presented by the plaintiffs aiding a terminally ill patient, in unbearable pain, to end his or her own life, and precisely the situation in which physicians are most likely to participate,” Aurigemma wrote.

The doctors, Ronald Levine and Gary Blick, filed a lawsuit last year seeking a court ruling to declare that the statute against helping
someone commit suicide would not apply to physicians helping terminally ill patients end their lives. Doing so was not suicide, but “aid in dying,” the lawsuit said a distinction that their attorney Daniel Krisch explained in court: Suicide is a choice of whether to die or not. Aid in dying involves not whether a person will die, but when, and how much pain and suffering the patient must endure first.

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