Judge approves physician aid-in-dying for terminally ill patients

Updated: 01/13/2014 10:14 PM | Created: 01/13/2014 2:59 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4; Elizabeth Reed,

A district court judge ruled Monday that doctors will not be prosecuted for helping terminally ill patients end their lives.

New Mexico is now the fifth state in the nation to allow physician aid-in-dying, which allows doctors to prescribe pills that would speed up and ease the dying process.

The case was brought by a doctor and patient who sued the state for the right. Assisting with suicide is a fourth degree felony in the state, but an Albuquerque doctor argued that "physician aid-in-dying" is not the same thing as "assisted suicide."

The state had previously argued in district court that a judge shouldn't be the one to legalize aid in dying. They said if anyone was going to change New Mexico's rules on the issue, it should be lawmakers.

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