Philly Woman Charged With Helping Father Commit Suicide

The Inquirer reports on the case of Barbara Mancini, a Philadelphia woman facing a murder charge for helping her 93-year-old father commit suicide in February. The case is blowing up into a political issue, with calls for Atty. Gen. Kathleen Kane to drop the case.

Mancini gave her father morphine, which he used to try to hasten his death. Instead, he died four days later. But Mancini is charged anyway, because officials say the suicide attempt did in fact bring about his early demise.

“Prosecution of Mancini is an assault on a loving daughter and a violation of a dying patient’s constitutional right to pain relief,” said Kathryn Tucker, a lawyer with Denver-based Compassion and Choices, an end-of-life advocacy group that is helping Mancini.

“The Supreme Court has ruled in a pair of cases that I brought in mid-1990s that dying patients have a right to all the pain medication they need, even if it advances the time of death,” Tucker said.

“It’s very hard to see,” she added, “what would motivate a prosecutor to charge a daughter at the bedside of her dying father with a crime when she does nothing more than hand him his medication.”

Mancini’s advocates plan to hold a conference call about the matter today.