Lawsuit filed against End-of-Life Options Act

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — If someone who is terminally ill asked you to help them end their life, would you do it? In a new lawsuit filed this week, one New Mexico doctor is fighting for what he calls his right to say no to that question.

“The government can’t force healthcare professionals to violate medical ethics or their religious convictions to practice medicine, and that’s precisely what the state of New Mexico is doing in a new law,” said Mark Lippelmann, attorney.

Lippelmann is representing Mark Lacy, a New Mexico doctor, and the national group, Christian Medical and Dental Associations, in a new lawsuit against the state.

Lippelmann said they’re suing the attorney general’s office, the New Mexico Department of Health, and the New Mexico Medical Board over the recently enacted Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act.

The act legalized assisted suicides in 2021 in New Mexico.

“We’re asking the court for an order that would block enforcement of certain provisions of the law. There’s a provision of the law that compels physicians to speak and to counsel their patients about assisted suicide as an option,” said Lippelmann.  

The lawsuit states it’s unconstitutional for Dr. Lacy to have to refer patients to a doctor who will provide assisted suicide, saying it’s against his religious beliefs.

Lipplemann is confident they’ll be successful.

“ATF was pleased to represent similar clients in California, where California passed a similar law, legalizing assisted suicide and also requiring physicians to participate in some meaningful ways. And we were successful in getting a court in California to block enforcement of those portions of the law,” he said about a similar lawsuit they filed.

Since the lawsuit was just filed, Lippelmann said it’s too soon to tell what the outcome may be.

KOB 4 reached out to the attorney general’s office about the lawsuit. They shared this response:

“We are reviewing the state’s interest in this important matter, and we will respond in our court filing.”