The issue of physician-assisted suicide has been hotly debated in the United States for decades. Jack Kevorkian, its most ardent supporter, conducted 130 assisted suicides in his lifetime. His belief was that a doctor’s “responsibilities include assisting their patients with death.” This debate was recently rekindled in New Mexico.
In the spring of 2012, Aja Riggs, a 49-year old uterine cancer patient, filed a suit in the Second District Court of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in which she demanded that her doctors be allowed to administer her a lethal injection if her pain became intolerable. Riggs became a plaintiff for a case that had been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life choice advocacy group. These two organizations had filed the case on behalf of New Mexico doctors Katherine Morris and Aroop Mangalik. Riggs was the only patient mentioned in the suit.