April 16, 1997
The President has made it clear that he does not support assisted suicides.
The Administration, therefore, does not oppose enactment of H.R. 1003, insofar
as it would reaffirm current Federal policy prohibiting the use of Federal
funds to pay for assisted suicides and euthanasia.
However, the Department of Justice advises (in the attached letter) that section 5 of the bill, which would prohibit the use of any federal funds to support an activity that has a purpose of "asserting or advocating a legal right to cause, or to assist in...the suicide...of any individual," exceeds the intent of the legislation and raises concerns regarding freedom of speech. Therefore, the Administration urges the Senate to address this concern as the legislation moves forward, in order to avoid potential constitutional challenges and implementation problems.