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xx Assisted Suicide

(before 2003)

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Jeff Fenston has AIDS. There is no cure for AIDS. Jeff keeps some pills so when he can no longer control his life, he can end it.

The U.S. Court agreed with Jeff. He can do this if he wants. A law in the state of Washington now must change.

The laws did say that no one can help people take their own lives. The Court ruled the U.S. Constitution gives people the right to die.

The judge wrote that a person who has lived a full life can choose to die with dignity instead of being helpless. When a patient is no longer able to be happy, the government should not force them to stay alive.

Not all the judges agreed. One judge wrote that the poor, the elderly, the disabled and the minorities could be forced to commit suicide.

A task force is afraid that many people will be made to commit suicide. They think that the government will decide who will live and who will die.

The court's ruling may affect how a case against Dr. Jack Kevorkian will turn out. The doctor helps people die who no longer want to live. It is against the law for him to do that.

AIDS patient Jeff Fenston says he's ready to die no matter how the courts rule. "Sometime there may come a point where I'm not willing to give up any more of my life and it would be time for me to move on."

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