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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 26, 1997


I am very pleased with today's Supreme Court decision which accepted my Administration's position that states may ban physician-assisted suicide. The decision is a victory for all Americans -- it prevents us from going down a very dangerous and troubling path on this difficult and often agonizing issue.

With today's decision, the Court voices its concern that there is a significant distinction between assisting in death and allowing death to occur. Not only is this an important legal distinction, it is also a distinction of deep moral and ethical implications.

I have a great deal of sympathy and a profound respect for those who suffer from incurable illnesses, and for their families. I have had a number of family members die from painful and protracted illnesses. Even so, I have always expressed my strong opposition to physicianassisted suicide. I believe that it is wrong and have always believed it to be wrong.

This issue is unavoidably heartrending, and we must never ignore the agony of terminally ill patients, but the Supreme Court made the right decision today. The risks and consequences of physician-assisted suicide are simply too great.