Posted on January 13, 2020 at 3:00 AM
More than three years ago, Roger Kligler filed a lawsuit in Suffolk County Superior Court, Massachusetts, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief that MAID was a legal option.
On December 31, 2019, the court acknowledged that Kliger “presented several strong arguments for making MAID a legal option for those suffering from terminal illness.” But the court ruled that any right to utilize MAID must come from the legislature.
This is not an unusual ruling. As I discuss in the New Mexico Law Review, other than Montana, every one of dozens of lawsuits (in NY, CA, FL, etc.) seeking statutory or constitutional rights to MAID has failed.
Still, there are three silver linings in this ruling.
1. Unlike Minnesota, the Superior Court clarified that “Any physician is free to provide information on the jurisdictions where MAID is legal, guidance on the procedures and requirement sin those jurisdictions, and referrals to physicians who can provide MAID in those jurisdictions.”
2. The Superior Court implicitly acknowledges that VSED (an alternative to MAID) is a legitimate and accepted end-of-life option in Massachusetts.
3. The Superior Court observes that the some of the binding precedent (Brophy and Saikewicz) “may not reflect the current thinking” of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. So, this decision could be reversed on appeal.