This Note argues that states cannot consistently prohibit physician assisted suicide for terminally ill patients while they continue to allow the withdrawal of life support for even non-terminal patients. All of the state interests identified by the Supreme Court in rejecting a right to assisted suicide are implicated to a higher degree by withdrawal of life support. The primary reason for this difference is that withdrawal of life support often involves incompetent patients and surrogate decision making while assisted suicide by definition requires a competent patient choosing to hasten her death.
Colin Miller, Escape from New York: Analyzing the State's Relative Interests in Proscribing the Withdrawal of Life Support and Physician-Assisted Suicide, 11 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 779 (2003)