ASSISTED SUICIDE UPDATE


The American Medical Association’s definition of physician-assisted suicide (PAS) is “a physician facilitates a patient’s death by providing the necessary means and/or information to enable the patient to perform the life-ending act.” [The AMA Code of Medical Ethics, Opinion 5.7, in the appendix, at p. A-34] Whether the assisting person is a physician or not, the general term assisted-suicide is used to describe the act of facilitating another person’s suicide. Euthanasia is the administration of a lethal agent by another person. [AMA Opinion 5.8, "Euthanasia," attached in the appendix at page A-35.6] (Euthanasia can also be committed by an omission which causes death, but this distinction is not relevant to the bills and court rulings listed herein.)
The American Medical Association and most states reject assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Current PAS Bills
Note: This may not be a complete list.
  • Indiana: “End of Life Options” (HB 1020)
  • New Hampshire: “Death With Dignity Act” (HB 1659) 
  • New York: “Medical Aid in Dying Act” (A 2694 and S 3947
Any bill that would permit PAS, in effect, also would permit euthanasia, both voluntary and non-voluntary. A very good explanation of this fact is provided by Margaret Dore, Esq. in her commentary regarding the New Hampshire “Death With Dignity Act” (comments VI through IX) at https://www.choiceillusionnewhampshire.org/2020/02/reject-hb-1659-proposed-death-with.html.

Court Cases of Interest
  • Massachusetts: December 31, 2019, Justice Mary Ames, Suffolk Superior Court, ruled that physicians who prescribe lethal drugs for assisted suicide can be prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter, but that physicians may provide information and advice on assisted suicide to terminally ill, competent adults.
  • New Jersey: TRENTON, NJ, UNITED STATES, January 10, 2020 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Attorney Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, a non-profit corporation opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia, has filed a friend of the court brief in Glassman v. Grewal, which seeks to overturn New Jersey's Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act. "Aid in Dying" is a euphemism for euthanasia. Dore's brief argues that the Act is stacked against the individual, not limited to people near death and unconstitutional due to the way it was enacted. Read more: https://www.newjerseyagainstassistedsuicide.org/2020/01/new-jersey-aid-in-dying-act-is.html#more
     
A Model Resolution to Oppose Physician-assisted Suicide
The following is a caucus resolution proposed for Minnesota which can be modified for any state.
WHEREAS, Minnesota has long prided itself on offering the highest level of healthcare; and
WHEREAS, public policy should see to improve healthcare, not hasten death; and
WHEREAS, every person has the right to receive health care, manage their illnesses, and refuse life-prolonging treatment; and
WHEREAS, allowing medical professionals to prescribe lethal drugs harms the patient-provider relationship; and
WHEREAS, assisted suicide targets people who are vulnerable especially those with disabilities, the elderly, veterans and low-income individuals; and
WHEREAS, in practice legalized assisted suicide has been risky, lacks safeguards, and promotes suicide and undermines support for those suffering from mental illness; NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED that the __________________party of Minnesota should oppose legalization of physician assisted suicide and should instead support healthcare solutions that prioritize real care rather than hasten death.


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