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Jacqueline H. Abernathy , Ph.D.

Associate Scholar

Jacqueline C. Abernathy, Ph.D., is a bioethicist, public policy scholar, and an Assistant Professor of Public Administration at Tarleton State University in the Master of Public Administration Program. She is also the Director of the Mortality Policy Project at TSU, a research initiative that studies laws that govern end-of-life decision-making. Dr. Abernathy’s research primarily focuses on end-of-life legislation, particularly state policies that allow the forced removal of life-sustaining medical treatment against patient wishes. Her training includes a Ph.D. in Public Administration and an M.S. in Social Work. Dr. Abernathy currently works as a policy analyst and independent evaluator, analyzing the effectiveness of government social welfare grants and human service programs for non-profit organizations. She recently testified in and provided support for key life-issue legal cases pending in the federal courts.

Latest Research & News

  • Assisted Suicide at the Polls: Risks & Rewards Associated with Voting to Legalize Assisted Suicide vs. Maintaining the Status Quo | January 19, 2016

    This academic paper analyzes the significance of a legislator’s position in favor of assisted suicide. In particular, the paper looks at the risk associated with support for legalization of assisted suicide on subsequent re-election. This original work comes from the Department of Social Sciences at Tarleton State University, written by Dr. Jacqueline C. Harvey, a political science faculty member. This version of the paper is a conference abstract that was presented at the 2016 Southern Political Science Association Conference. The full version of the paper will be published in an appropriate academic journal at a later date.

  • Germany Bans “Business-like Assisted Suicide,” But New Regulation Reminds Us: Killing Can Never Be Safe | November 24, 2015

    Switzerland has an unlikely tourist attraction — one where those who visit never leave — and it draws Germans to it more than visitors of any other nationality. It is called the Dignitas clinic, and Germans represent 44 percent of foreign-nationals paying the staff to help them commit suicide. This is more than double the next most common nationality of suicide tourists, British citizens, who constitute 21 percent of the euthanasia clinic’s international business. Death as a paid service is such a concern to the governments of Germany and the United Kingdom that both have recently voted on legislation to ban this practice. Britain overwhelmingly rejected killing outright this September with a vote of 330 to 118 against legalizing assisted suicide.

    Germany, however, banned assisted suicide, but only when operated as a business.

  • A Plea for True Compassion: Against Assisted Suicide | September 15, 2015

    On September 11, California legislators passed Assembly Bill X2-15, the “End of Life Option Act,” which legalizes physician-assisted suicide. If the bill is not vetoed by California Governor Jerry Brown within 31 days of its passage, the bill will become state law. Here is an open letter written to Gov. Brown by CLI Associate Scholar Dr. Jacqueline Harvey, Ph.D. urging him to veto the bill.

  • Sick and Disabled Infants Starved and Dehydrated: Britain’s Modern Baby Doe | December 14, 2012

    A news article entitled “Now sick babies go on death pathway: Doctor’s haunting testimony reveals how children are put on end-of-life plan” from the UK’s Daily Mail is commanding considerable attention to end-of-life care in Great Britain. The article cites commentary from the British Medical Journal (BMJ) by an anonymous physician, who admits that he/she oversees the […]

  • Massachusetts’ “Death with Dignity” Initiative: Questions Regarding Question 2 | October 23, 2012

    Download PDF here: Massachusetts’ Death with Dignity Initiative_Questions Regarding Question 2   The 2012 “Act Relative to Death with Dignity” goes before Massachusetts voters on November 6. Question 2 asks voters directly whether to legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS) or uphold existing state statutes.  If voters affirm Question 2, Massachusetts would join Oregon, Washington and Montana as the only states in […]