A federal appeals court has ordered the Bush administration not to meddle with Oregon's assisted suicide law.
The ruling Wednesday says that doctors in Oregon may prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients.
The court says U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft cannot sanction or hold Oregon doctors criminally liable for prescribing overdoses. Oregon voters approved the Death With Dignity Act.
Judge Richard Tallman wrote in the 2-1 opinion that Ashcroft's action "far exceeds the scope of his authority under federal law."
Ashcroft had issued a directive threatening to revoke the licenses of doctors who aid suicides with narcotics. The act declares what drugs doctors may prescribe.
It's the nation's only law that allows doctors to assist in hastening the death of a patient.