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In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You're Not Around Later

Judge Says Doctors Can Help Terminal Patients Die in New Mexico

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 • by Gene Newman

If you’re a proponent for ending your life in the event of a terminal illness, the Breaking Bad state has some good news.

A New Mexico judge said terminally ill, mentally competent patients can choose to have a doctor end their life, according to CNN. Stemming from a lawsuit filed on behalf of a terminally ill cancer patient by the ACLU and Compassion & Choices, the judge had to consider if doctors could precribe a fatal dose of drugs if a patient wanted it. Here's an excerpt of Second Judicial District Judge Nan Nash's response:

This Court cannot envision a right more fundamental, more private or more integral to the liberty, safety and happiness of a New Mexican than the right of a competent, terminally ill patient to choose aid in dying. If decisions made in the shadow of one's imminent death regarding how they and their loved ones will face that death are not fundamental and at the core of these constitutional guarantees, than what decisions are?

No word on whether New Mexico’s attorney general will appeal, but if it stands NM joins Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont in states that allow aid-in-dying. (Note: Aid-in-dying isn’t assisted suicide, which is illegal everywhere.)

The patient named in the suit, 50-year-old Aja Riggs, who has terminal cancer currently in remission, is quoted in the story saying: "Most Americans want to die peacefully at home, surrounded by loved ones, not die in agony in a hospital. I feel the same way. If my cancer returns and I face intolerable suffering, I want the option to cut it short, and to die peacefully at home."