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Current Law Against Assisted Suicide
A person commits the crime of manslaughter if the person intentionally aids another person to commit suicide. Alaska Stat. § 11.41.120 (a) (2)
Alaska has a firearm mortality rate almost double the national average, of 19.7 per 100,000 people, versus 10.3.
Of those deaths, more than 80% were suicides.
(Source of information: Alaska Dispatch News, August 2/3, 2017)
2017 – 2018
A doctor-prescribed suicide bill. HB 54, titled “Voluntary Termination of Life,” was introduced in Alaska but did not pass in 2017. It was carried over to 2018..
Text of HB 54
A doctor-prescribed suicide bill, HB 99, titled “Voluntary Termination of Life,” was introduced in Alaska. It failed to pass.
Text of HB 99
Status of HB 99
According to Rep. Drummond’s office, the Legislature’s Health and Social Services Committee adopted several amendments to HB 99 and her office is hoping to see some progress on the bill next year. (KTUU — May 18, 2015)
1998 Court Challenge to Alaska’s Law Against Assisted Suicide
On December 15, 1998, two people filed suit in Alaska Superior Court in Anchorage challenging Alaska’s ban on assisted suicide. The suit was sponsored by Compassion in Dying (the same organization that spearheaded the failed federal court challenges to assisted suicide in New York and Washington).
In the Washington and New York cases, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is no federal constitutional right to assisted suicide.The Alaska case, however, was based on claims that Alaska’s ban on assisted suicide violated the rights to privacy, liberty and equal protection guaranteed by the state constitution.
On September 9, 1999, Superior Court Judge Eric Sanders ruled that the Alaska constitution does not guarantee a right to assisted suicide. Assisted suicide supporters appealed the ruling to the Alaska Supreme Court.
On September 21, 2001, the Alaska Supreme Court, citing the dangers of assisted suicide to vulnerable Alaskans, unanimously upheld Alaska’s law prohibiting assisted suicide.
“Assisted Suicide, Liberal Individualism, and Visceral Jurisprudence…” (Alaska Law Review, Vol 20, No. 2, 2003) Eric A. Johnson, Assistant Solicitor General, New York State Department of Law and former Chief Assistant Attorney General in Alaska Department of Law argues that a constitutional right to assisted suicide would have to be grounded on the detrimental assumption that disabilities make life less worthy of protection.
“Alaska bill would let terminally ill make decision to die”
(San Diego Union Tribune — February 9, 2015)
An Anchorage lawmaker introduced legislation Monday that would give terminally ill patients the right to decide to end their lives with the help of a physician.
“Suicides up, but other violent deaths have decreased in Alaska”
(Fairbanks Daily News Miner — September 16, 2012)