Men and women of principle are sometimes hard to find in Washington. Attorney General John Ashcroft is one of them.
Ashcroft has just blocked Oregon's assisted suicide law by authorizing federal drug agents to identify and punish doctors in that state who prescribe federally controlled drugs to assist people in killing themselves.
In a memo to the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Ashcroft wrote that assisting in a suicide is not a "legitimate purpose" under federal law. He said DEA agents should seek to revoke the drug licences of Oregon physicians who help patients kill themselves.
The opinion reverses a 1998 opinion by then-Attorney General Janet Reno and is a direct challenge to Oregon's so-called "Death with Dignity" act. Oregon is the only state in the nation with an assisted suicide law.
Good for John Ashcroft for standing up for life. Now if only he had the power to do the same for the unborn.