Monday, July 3, 2017

111 reported assisted suicide deaths in California in 2016.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The recent assisted suicide report from the California Department of Public Health indicates that there were 111 reported assisted suicide deaths in 2016. Assisted suicide was officially legalized in California on June 9, 2016.

Another recent report, from the assisted suicide lobby, indicated that they facilitated at least 504 lethal prescriptions in the first year of the act. Dr Jacqueline Abernathy, in her article - One Year of Legalized Assisted Suicide in California, Countless Unanswered Questions stated:

Although premature and lacking in reliable data, Compassion & Choices (C & C, formerly the Hemlock Society) is already declaring the law is “working very well” in a recent press release - stating also: “Personal Stories, Statistics Show Law is Working as Lawmakers Intended.” 
However this report is full of dubious statistics that begs more questions than it feigns to answer. 
The report lists the number of facilities, doctors, insurance companies and hospice locations that support assisted suicide - yet supporting a dangerous law does not equate to proving it safe. If you recall, California legislators had soundly rejected assisted suicide in the previous session based upon a host of concerns about the safety of not just assisted suicide, but a bill that makes evaluation of the use of this form of euthanasia virtually impossible---since the law mandates that death certificates falsify the actual cause of death. The law states that death certificates from assisted suicide have their cause of death listed not as the lethal overdose that caused it- but their underlying prognosis.

The information provided in the 2016 California assisted suicide report is lacking in comparison to the yearly official reports from Oregon and Washington state. and nothing in the report assures compliance with the law.

Since the California law requires the doctor who prescribes the lethal drugs to also be the doctor who submits the report to the government, therefore we do not know if the law is being followed. Self-reporting systems do not assure compliance with the law. People who act outside of the law will rarely self-report their act.

It is concerning that the assisted suicide lobby admits to facilitating 504 lethal prescriptions in the first year of the law. It should also concern people that the number of assisted suicide prescriptions increased incrementally in the second six months of the law.

The official California report indicates that there 191 lethal prescriptions prescribed between June 9 - December 31 and the assisted suicide lobby claims to have facilitated 504 lethal prescriptions from June 9, 2016 to May 31, 2017. Therefore, not including assisted suicide prescriptions not prescribed by the assisted suicide lobby, at least 313 people were prescribed assisted suicide between January 1, 2017 and May 31, 2017. 

The California assisted suicide has been designed to provide physicians the right to assist suicides without fear of being prosecuted for acts that are done outside of the law.

As I asked on June 2 - Who is running the California assisted suicide law?

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