Are the Similarities Between a Woman’s Right to Choose an Abortion and the Alleged Right to Assisted Suicide Really Compelling?

In this Article, Marc Spindelman examines the relationship between abortion and assisted suicide. He begins his discussion with the constitutional framework within which courts should consider the assertion that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects an individual’s decision to commit assisted suicide. The Author then considers and, based on relevant Supreme Court doctrine, rejects the conception of personal autonomy that undergirds the claimed constitutional right to assisted suicide. Finally, the Author points out some legal and cultural distinctions between abortion and assisted suicide, arguing that these distinctions offer courts good reasons for holding that the Fourteenth Amendment’s promise of liberty does not include the liberty to commit assisted suicide. In addition, the Author makes a few observations about recent assisted-suicide cases decided by the Ninth and Second Circuits.