Archive for the ‘Assisted Suicide’ Category

Assisted Suicide and the Affordable Care Act

July 23, 2013

The controversy over federally endorsed abortion and its hidden surcharges has been well documented in conservative media. But there hasn’t been much coverage of late about the legislation’s  support for physician-assisted suicide.

Currently, only four states in the country legally allow assisted suicide. Vermont, Washington, and Oregon have unrestricted laws, meaning that the administration of life ending drugs is up to the discretion of the patient and his doctor (also it’s covered by insurance). In Montana, assisted suicide is legal through a court order. In the other 46 states, the practice is illegal and has been for most of the last century.

Section 1553

The piece of legislation in question is Section 1553 of the Affordable Care Act, which reads as follows:

(a) In General – The Federal Government, and any State or local government or health care provider that receives Federal financial assistance under this Act (or under an amendment made by this Act) or any health plan created under this Act (or under an amendment made by this Act), may not subject an individual or institutional health care entity to discrimination on the basis that the entity does not provide any health care item or service furnished for the purpose of causing, or for the purpose of assisting in causing, the death of any individual, such as by assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing.

To break it down, if a terminally ill patient requests that his doctor help him end his life, and the doctor refuses for moral reasons or whatever the case may be, that doctor is protected by federal law against discrimination. This can be a saving grace for doctors who may subsequently be targeted by insurance companies because of their refusal to help patients end their lives.

Full Article and Source:
Obamacare’s covert support of assisted suicide

Physician Assisted Suicide

May 23, 2013

Vermont is now the fourth state in the country that allows physician assisted suicide.

The law, allowing physicians to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients, took effect Monday when it was signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin. But it could be some time before the first person is able to take advantage of the law. Dick Walters, of the group End of Life Choices, says he doesn’t think many people will take advantage of the law to end their lives, but it will improve end-of-life options for Vermonters.

Now it’s up to the Vermont Health Department to implement the rules.  For the first three years, the Vermont law will require patients to state three times they wish to die. One of those statements must be in writing.

Full Article and Source:
Physician Assisted Suicide in Michigan?

Judge Dismissed Charge Against Leading Right-to-Die Advocate

April 5, 2013

A judge has dismissed charges against the former leader of a US right-to-die group accused in the death of a Minnesota woman, ruling that the state law against advising suicide is unconstitutionally overbroad. The judge dismissed charges against Thomas Goodwin, former president of Final Exit Network. The group argued the law violates a person’s right to freedom of speech.

Last year, four members of the group were charged in the 2007 death of Doreen Dunn, who killed herself in her home. Prosecutors said the defendants provided Dunn with information and support.

Dunn had suffered through a decade of intense, chronic pain after a medical procedure went wrong.

Final Exit Network is run by volunteers who believe that mentally competent adults have a basic human right to end their lives if they suffer from “fatal or irreversible illness or intractable pain” and meet other criteria, according to the group’s website. “We do not encourage anyone to end their life,” the website says.

Goodwin was charged with aiding and abetting assistance of a suicide, a felony, and aiding and abetting in the interference with a death scene, a gross misdemeanor.

Full Article and Source:
Judge Dismisses Charge Against Leading Right-to-Die Advocate

Assisted suicide reaches State House

March 16, 2013

Recently the Vermont legislature has been considering a bill (S.77) that would legalize the practice of “death with dignity,” or “patient-directed dying,” or some other misleading euphemism conjured up by evidently abashed legislators.

Make no mistake: the bill would make killing another person legal, under the name of “compassion.”
The aforementioned bill states that a patient afflicted with a “terminal” illness, that is, an illness that affords its host less than six months to live, may be legally killed by a doctor, if they request medication to “hasten death.”
You probably hear appeals for state-approved suicide similar to this one all the time. But whatever the case, the amount of time a patient is told he has to live is irrelevant.
Medical experts admit that it is nearly impossible to predict when a patient will die of an illness. Moreover, some people diagnosed with a “terminal condition” do not die for years, and sometimes not at all (at least not of that particular condition).
The fact of the matter is that nobody can accurately predict when one’s life becomes meaningless.
Euthanasia ideologues say legalizing assisted suicide would lower healthcare costs, as the drugs used to end a patient’s life are much cheaper than the drugs used to preserve it. This is not an ethically based argument. It argues that there is money to be saved by killing a patient, rather than actually helping one.
Advocates of euthanasia are naive if they do not believe that health-care providers won’t urge—or pay—doctors to, in turn, urge their patients to choose suicide over treatment.
Doctors might exaggerate the severity or dreadfulness of the ailment, as it would be in their financial interest to do so. Patients would be mindlessly receptive of a doctor’s deceptive advice, for people are unlikely to disagree with an expert.
Oregon, which has already legalized assisted suicide, has similarly witnessed this “profits over people” mentality.
Not long after the passage of the euthanasia bill, Oregon announced that it would make severe cuts to its state version of Medicaid. Oregon didn’t use the money they saved to increase the quality of their healthcare; rather, the state pocketed the money.
The next fallacy in the argument of euthanasia advocates: that the choice to die would be strictly voluntary. It is foolish to deny the pressures that would exist to encourage a patient to choose death.
Poorer patients would be especially encouraged to choose death, lest they perceive themselves financial burdens to family members.
See Full Article & Source:

Recommended Website: Not Dead Yet – The Resistance

March 14, 2013

Not Dead Yet is a national, grassroots disability rights group that opposes legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia as deadly forms of discrimination against old, ill and disabled people.

Not Dead Yet helps organize and articulate opposition to these practices based on secular social justice arguments.

Not Dead Yet demands the equal protection of the law for the targets of so called “mercy killing” whose lives are seen as worth-less.


House panel debates penalties for assisted suicide

February 21, 2013
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Outlawing physician-assisted suicide in Montana would protect the elderly from being abused and keep the integrity of the medical profession intact, supporters of a bill to ban the practice told lawmakers Wednesday.
The House Judiciary Committee is considering the bill sponsored by its chairman, Republican Rep. Krayton Kerns of Laurel, to penalize the doctors and caregivers who participate in the practice.
“Basically House Bill 505 is written to target elder abuse,” Kerns said. “And the fear that comes with that idea.”
The Legislature has struggled with physician-assisted suicide since a 2009 state Supreme Court ruling that said nothing in state law prohibits it. The ruling effectively made Montana the third state to legalize the practice, though the lack of regulations and reporting requirements makes it impossible to know how many physician-assisted suicides have taken place.
Last week, a Senate committee tabled a bill regulating assisted suicide, just as it did during the 2011 session. Kerns’ bill seeks to go in the opposite direction, outlawing rather than regulating the practice.
A similar measure also failed to receive sufficient lawmaker support in 2011.
Supporters of Kerns’ bill said assisted suicide is unnecessary because end-of-life palliative care is sufficient to aid in the process of death and it may damage the medical profession.
Full Article & Source:
House panel debates penalties for assisted suicide

Arguments in favour of assisted suicide rely on misinformation

February 20, 2013

The case of Ruth Goodman is a perfect example of how confused, illogical, uninformed and sometimes untruthful many proponents of euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide are.

Goodman killed herself on Feb. 2, with no assistance, at the age of 91 in her Vancouver home, in a bid to change physician-assisted suicide laws. If you’re scratching your head right now and saying, “huh?” don’t be alarmed, you are thinking clearly and are not losing your mind.

In short, Goodman’s final act makes no sense. The reason this woman’s last act is so strange is because everyone already has the right to die. Suicide is not illegal.

“I am a 91-year-old woman who has decided to end my life in the very near future,” wrote Goodman, who had worked at an abortion clinic and was involved with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

“I do not have a terminal illness; I am simply old, tired and becoming dependent, after a wonderful life of independence,” she wrote.

“By the time people read this, I will have died. I am writing this letter to advocate for a change in the law so that all will be able to make this choice.”

To reiterate, everyone already can make “this choice.” It’s not illegal to kill yourself. No laws have to be changed. Anyone and everyone can commit suicide as long as they don’t endanger anyone else while doing so.

What so-called right-to-die activists are actually seeking is the right for people to help other people to die – they want the right to kill other people and to have other people kill them, making legal what has been illegal in most sane places, since time immemorial.

In countries where euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are legal – like the Netherlands – it is documented that thousands of people have been killed involuntarily by their physicians without their consent, even when a full recovery was possible.

Alas, this illogical and discordant story about Goodman has garnered much media attention, and that in itself is disturbing when you consider another story about euthanasia that has not received any mainstream media attention.

Full Article & Source:
Arguments in favour of assisted suicide rely on misinformation

LETTER: State physician-assisted-suicide law dangerous

February 7, 2013

Our state government is considering a bill (S.B. No. 48) to make physician-assisted suicide legal.

This bill, introduced by Sen. Edward Meyer, is a dangerous precedent of the codification of state sanctioned euthanasia. Albeit it is self-inflicted, it is euthanasia nonetheless.

To give this power to the government is to surrender an inalienable right that should only be held by the individual.

I do not claim that those suffering from a painful and incurable disease should not be allowed the dignity of a peaceful and painless passing. However, I do deny the need of our state government, or any government, to make such a law. Such issues of life and of death are the sole purview of the individual.

Many people are weary of the “slippery slope” argument because of its misuse in the debates on gay marriage. But, if this bill is passed then we would be taking that first step toward state sanctioned euthanasia.

Sure, one could argue that cooler heads would prevail and that the brakes would firmly be applied before we hit such a grotesque landmark.

However, consider Belgium, which is now considering an expansion of a physician-assisted suicide law to include the mentally impaired and children. Belgium, a post-industrial, modern society, secular and liberal, entertains the idea that it would be acceptable to make the most vulnerable members of their society candidates for euthanasia.

Full Article & Source:
LETTER: State physician-assisted-suicide law dangerous

Americans Support Physician-Assisted Suicide For Terminally Ill

January 10, 2013

Voters in Massachusetts were the latest to weigh in on whether it should be legal for doctors to prescribe drugs to help terminally ill patients end their lives.

The measure was controversial, and on Election Day it fell just short.

Before the vote, we wondered how Americans viewed physician-assisted suicide. So we asked in early October.

The results from the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll show that most Americans favor physician-assisted suicide for people with less than six months to live.

Overall, 55 percent of respondents favored it, and 45 percent were opposed. Those proportions were unchanged from July 2011, when Truven asked the same questions.

Support for the idea varied by age and income.

Fifty-six percent of people 65 and older opposed physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill; 44 percent supported it. Among people younger than 35, the results were reversed: 59 percent for and 41 percent against.


Full Article & Source:
Americans Support Physician-Assisted Suicide For Terminally Ill

Editorial: Assisted Suicide Make it Easier to Cover up Elder Abuse, Even Murder

December 9, 2012

Re: Assisted Suicide and Elder Abuse

This letter responds to your recent AP article about assisted-suicide (Associated Press, Nov. 16). I write to emphasize elder financial abuse as a reason to keep assisted suicide out of Montana.

The landmark 2009 report by MetLife Mature Market Institute describes elder financial abuse as a crime “growing in intensity.” (See, p.16.) The perpetrators are often family members, some of whom feel themselves “entitled” to the elder’s assets (Id, pp. 13-14.) The report states that they start out with small crimes, such as stealing jewelry and blank checks, before moving on to larger items or coercing elders to sign over the deeds to their homes, change their wills or liquidate their assets (Id, p. 14.) The report states that victims “may even be murdered” by perpetrators (Id., p. 24.)

With legal assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington state, perpetrators are instead able to take a “legal” route by getting an elder to sign a lethal dose request. Once the prescription is filled, there is no supervision over administration. The elder could be cajoled or coerced into taking the lethal dose, for example, while under the influence of alcohol. The lethal dose could be administered while the elder slept. If he awoke and struggled, who would know?

Alex Schadenberg,
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition,
London, Ontario, Canada

Assisted Suicide Make it Easier to Cover up Elder Abuse, Even Murder