The question of the constitutional case against suicide: an historiographical and originalist inquiry into the degree to which the theory of the inalienable right to life and liberty is enforced by the Thirteenth Amendment
Issues Law Med. 2010 Fall;26(2):91-195.
This article completes a study that the author foreshadowed in his previous articles. The Western moral theory that defends the inalienable right to life and liberty–and that therefore forbids all forms of suicide and slavery–is now well known to the author’s readers. What is not well known is an answer to the question of whether this theory, in its totality, was part of the original intent of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The theory of the inalienable right to life and liberty was supported by many political philosophers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Those philosophers and their theory did shape a good deal of the thought of the men who made the Thirteenth Amendment a part of the Constitution. The anti-suicide implication of the theory, however, was not present in the minds of the framers and ratifiers of the Thirteenth Amendment, and therefore was not part of their intent.