George Mason Law Review
artificial insemination, inheritance, children, posthumously conceived
The statutory mandates are a step in the right direction, but there is still work that needs to be done. The statutes should be amended to close certain loop holes and to ensure that the physician-facilitated suicide option is available to all of the patients who need it. Persons suffering from physical conditions that will lead to death within six months should not be the only persons permitted to exit gracefully. As long as the safeguards included in the statutes are followed, there is no good reason to prohibit persons suffering from irreversible and incurable physical diseases that lead to death from being classified as terminal. In addition, persons diagnosed with irreversible and incurable brain disorders, like severe dementia or Alzheimer’s disease should be able to avail themselves of the rights provided by the physician-facilitated suicide statutes. Alzheimer’s patients suffer a slow, painful death. They revert to childhood and forget everyone around them. The mental death they suffer is similar to the physical death experienced by terminally physically ill patients. During the early stages of the disease, most Alzheimer sufferers are still competent enough to request physician-facilitated suicide. Therefore, the statutes should be amended or interpreted to give them that option.
Browne C. Lewis, Dead Men Reproducing: Responding to the Existence of Afterdeath Children, 16 George Mason Law Review 403 (2009)