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Lacy v. Torrez

Description:  A New Mexico law requires doctors to facilitate physician assisted suicide in ways that violate their religious convictions and professional ethics.

Dr. Mark Lacy, a licensed physician in New Mexico and member of CMDA.
Thursday, Dec 15, 2022

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a Christian doctor and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations sued the state of New Mexico Wednesday for enacting a law that requires doctors to facilitate physician assisted suicide in ways that violate their religious convictions and professional ethics.

The federal lawsuit explains that, despite historic condemnations of assisted suicide, New Mexico enacted the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act in 2021. The law requires physicians who are conscientious objectors to facilitate suicide by informing patients about assisted suicide and referring patients to physicians and organizations who will participate in ending their lives. If physicians decline to participate based on their religious beliefs or professional ethics, they can face substantial criminal, civil, administrative, and professional liability, including risking losing their medical licenses.

“New Mexico is unlawfully compelling physicians to speak a certain message about assisted suicide, even if they object for reasons of conscience or faith,” said ADF Senior Counsel Mark Lippelmann. “The Christian doctors we represent believe that every life is sacred and full of inherent value, and that assisted suicide ends an innocent human life without justification. The government should not force doctors to surrender their religious, moral, and ethical convictions.”

CMDA is a national association of conscientious Christian health care professionals whose personal religious convictions and professional ethics oppose the practice of assisted suicide. Dr. Mark Lacy, a member of CMDA, is a licensed physician in New Mexico who is also joining the lawsuit.

ADF attorneys filed the suit, Lacy v. Balderas, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. ADF attorneys are litigating a similar case in California on behalf of CMDA and a physician in that state.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT Mark Lippelmann

Mark Lippelmann serves as senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is a key member of the Center for Life. Lippelmann is responsible for the most advanced and complex litigation in support of pro-life laws. In his prior role at ADF, Lippelmann focused on protecting the freedom of Christian ministries, schools, and churches to exercise their faith without interference. Prior to joining ADF, Lippelmann worked as an attorney for the U.S. Postal Service in Washington, D.C., where he focused on complex class action litigation before federal courts and administrative bodies. Lippelmann also served as a federal law clerk and as an associate in private practice before joining ADF. Lippelmann earned his J.D. from Washburn University School of Law in 2009. While in law school, he served as comments editor of the Washburn Law Journal and was a research assistant for the school’s legal research and writing program. He obtained a B.A. in philosophy from The University of Kansas in 2006. He is admitted to the state bars in Kansas and Arizona and several federal courts.