NM Supreme Court rules physician-assisted suicide a felony

In a 5-0 opinion issued June 30, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that physicians in the state cannot help terminally ill patients end their lives, according to CBS News.

The court overturned a previous decision in District Court that said physicians were protected from prosecution under New Mexico's assisted suicide law, which classifies assisted suicide as a fourth-degree felony, according to the report.

The legal challenge stems from a 2012 lawsuit from Aja Riggs, a Santa Fe woman with advanced uterine cancer. Ms. Riggs sought a state District Court ruling that would permit physicians to help mentally competent adults with terminal illness end their lives without fear of criminal prosecution. In 2014 a District Court judge ruled in her favor, but then-state Attorney General Gary King appealed the ruling in the New Mexico Court of Appeals, which ultimately rejected the District Court judge's ruling, according to Taos News.

The Supreme Court's decision upholds the appeals court's ruling.

Ms. Riggs, whose cancer has since gone into remission, said she was "very disappointed" with the Supreme Court's decision.

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