Advocates rally around assisted suicide case

Suspect accused of giving morphine to dying father

PHILADELPHIA - A Philadelphia nurse has become the latest lightning rod in the nation's long-running debate over assisted suicide.

Fifty-seven-year-old Barbara Mancini is accused of giving a bottle of morphine to her dying father, 93-year-old Joe Yourshaw of Schuylkill County.

While four states allow some types of assisted suicide, the majority outlaw the practice.

Advocates for end-of-life choices say Mancini's criminal case will lead the terminally ill to avoid talking to loved ones about their wishes.

The group Compassion & Choices has criticized Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane for pursuing the case. Amid a gag order, Kane's office isn't commenting.

Medical ethicist Art Caplan says most assisted suicide cases "are motivated by love ... or mercy." But he believes it's important to review them, because of the potential for abuse.

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