Whose Life? Ask The Governor

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: TIME's Sally Donnelly reports that the Supreme Court decision to reject doctor-assisted suicide as a constitutional right will only shift the battle to the states. "This court is very reluctant to expand the concept of right to privacy, but they're not retrenching either. That suggests that the states, particularly those with constitutions which protect the right to privacy, will still have the freedom to argue this out individually." Under the unanimous decision today, the Court upheld state laws in New York and Washington that make it a crime for doctors to administer lethal drugs to terminally ill patients who want to die. A November referendum in Oregon on a state law which allows doctor-assisted suicides will be one key testing ground for whether states will still have the freedom to make up their own minds on the issue. As a possible sign of what lies ahead, right-to-die campaign representatives say they are ready for a state-level fight. Asked whether Thursday's ruling would halt the activities of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the movement's best-known advocate, Kevorkian's lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, was succinct: "Hell, no."