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Trial Over New Mexico’s Assisted Suicide Law Begins

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File photo of courtroom.(Photo by Spencer Weiner-Pool/Getty Images)

File photo of courtroom.(Photo by Spencer Weiner-Pool/Getty Images)

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Opening statements have begun in the legal challenge against a decades-old New Mexico law that prohibits assisted suicide.

Lawyers representing cancer doctors Katherine Morris and Aroop Mangalik and Santa Fe patient Aja Riggs delivered opening statements Wednesday in a state district court trial in Albuquerque.

The trial was prompted by a lawsuit filed in March 2012.

The suit seeks to clarify a New Mexico statute that states whoever assists with suicide is guilty of a fourth-degree felony.

Lawyers with The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and the Denver-based group Compassion & Choices argue that the law is vague and doesn’t encompass the conduct of a licensed physician who is helping competent, terminally ill patients who want to end their lives.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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