Thursday, January 31, 2019

Vote "No" on New Mexico Euthanasia Act

By Margaret Dore - Choice is an Illusion


1. The Act

The Act (HB 90 as amended, and SB 153) seeks to legalize medical “aid in dying,” a traditional euphemism for active euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.[1]

2. Who is Especially at Risk?

Individuals with money, meaning the middle class and above.

3. Assisting Persons Can Have an Agenda

Persons assisting a suicide or euthanasia can have an agenda. Consider Tammy Sawyer, trustee for Thomas Middleton in Oregon, which has a similar law. Two days after his death by legal assisted suicide, she sold his home and deposited the proceeds into bank accounts for her own benefit.[2] Consider also Graham Morant, recently convicted of counseling his wife to kill herself in Australia, to get the life insurance. The Court found:

[Y]ou counseled and aided your wife to kill herself because you wanted ... the 1.4 million.[3]

Medical professionals too can have an agenda. Michael Swango, MD, now incarcerated, got a thrill from killing his patients.[4] Consider also Harold Shipman, a doctor in the UK, who not only killed his patients, but stole from them and in one case made himself a beneficiary of the patient’s will.[5]

4. “Even If the Patient Struggled, Who Would Know?”

The Act has no required oversight over administration of the lethal dose, not even a witness is required to be present at the death.[6] The drugs used are water or alcohol soluble, such that they can be injected into a sleeping or restrained person without consent.[7] Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director for the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, puts it this way:

With assisted suicide laws in Washington and Oregon [and with the proposed Act], perpetrators can . . . 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. Even if a patient struggled, “who would know?” (Emphasis added).[8]

5. Cover for Murder

With the lack of witnesses to say otherwise, perpetrators will be able report deaths as “self-administered.” Per the Act, this will require death certificates to list a terminal illness as the cause of death. See the Act, Section 7, “Death Certificate - Cause of Death.” The official legal cause of death will be a terminal illness (not murder) as a matter of law.

6. “Eligible” Persons May Have Years or Decades to Live

The Act applies to persons with a terminal illness, which is expected to result in death “within six months” (HB 90, as amended). Oregon’s law has a similar criteria, which is interpreted to include chronic conditions such as diabetes mellitus, better known as diabetes. This is because the six months to live is determined without treatment. Oregon doctor, William Toffler, explains:

In Oregon, people with chronic conditions are “terminal,” if without their medications, they have less than six months to live. This is significant when you consider that a typical insulin-dependent 20 year-old will live less than a month without insulin.

Such persons, with insulin, are likely to have decades to live; in fact, most diabetics have a normal life span given appropriate control of their blood sugar. [9]
(Link to PDF of this article).

Footnotes

[1] Craig A. Brandt, “Model Aid-in-Dying Act,” Iowa Law Review, 1989 Oct; 75(1): 125-215, (“Subject: Active Euthanasia ....”), at https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/handle/10822/738671 and Maria T. CeloCruz, “Aid-in-Dying: Should We Decriminalize Physician-Assisted Suicide and Physician-Committed Euthanasia?,” American Journal of Law and Medicine 1992 (“Subject: Active Euthanasia ....”) at https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/handle/10822/744116

[2] KTVZ.com, “Sawyer Arraigned on State Fraud Charges,” at https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/sawyer-arraigned-a-63.pdf

[3] R v Morant , 11/02/18, p. 11, ¶ 78, at https://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2018/QSC18-251.pdf

[4] Charlie Leduff, “Prosecutors Say Doctor Killed to Feel a Thrill,” The New York Times, 09/07/00 (“Basically, Dr. Swango liked to kill people. By his own admission in his diary, he killed because it thrilled him.”)

[5] David Batty, “Q & A: Harold Shipman,” The Guardian, 08/25/05, at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/aug/25/health.shipman

[6] See HB 90 and SB 153, in their entirety.

[7] In Oregon, the drugs used include Secobarbital, and Pentobarbital (Nembutal) , which are water and alcohol soluble. See http://www.drugs.com/pr/seconal-sodium.html and http://www.drugs.com/pro/nembutal.html

[8] Alex Schadenberg, Letter to the Editor, “Elder abuse a growing problem,” The Advocate, Official Publication of the Idaho State Bar, October 2010

[9] Toffler Declaration, at https://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/toffler-decl-new-mexico-01-23-19.pdf

Media and euthanasia activist continue to pressure hospital to participate in euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
 


The campaign to force St Martha's hospital to provide (MAiD) killing their patients continues.

An article by Brooklyn Connolly, published in the Coast newspaper, reports on a lecture by euthanasia activist academic Jocelyn Downie who is trying to force St. Martha's hospital into doing euthanasia. Connolly reports Downie as saying:

“We’ve got a problem here,”

“We don’t have the policy, we don’t have the program, we’ve got mistakes and we have the really pressing issue of St. Martha’s, and that’s weighing on the policy—and that matters.”
Jocelyn Downie
In December, Downie began her campaign to force St Martha's hospital into doing euthanasia with an article in the Chronicle Herald.

In late December, Canada's national broadcaster, CBC news, featured a program pressuring St Martha's hospital to euthanize their patients.

Downie believes that access to Medical Assistance in Dying (euthanasia) transends the agreement that St Martha's Hospital has with the provincial government and
Catholic Healthcare. Downie is pressuring the Nova Scotia government to force St Martha's hospital into doing euthanasia.

According to Connolly, Downie, long-time euthanasia activist, believes that it is unconstitutional for a Catholic hospital not to provide euthanasia. Connolly writes:
Downie believes that detaining access to this procedure is against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but it all comes down to what the policy will say.

“On the website, it says ‘St. Martha’s doesn’t provide MAiD,’ so [the province is] accepting that St. Martha’s is not allowing this, and I think they have responsibility for it and I think we could hold them accountable for that and I do think that violates the Charter,”
Downie targeted St. Martha's hospital as a first step in a campaign to force all religiously affiliated health care institutions into participating in euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Canadian Medical Association exaggerates its support for conscience rights.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a commentary How the Canadian Medical Association found a third way to support all its members on assisted dying by Jeff Blackmer, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) VP of International Health, which conflates the CMA involvement in protecting conscience rights for Canadian physicians.

Blackmer says that changing their position on euthanasia and assisted suicide (MAiD) enabled the CMA to become involved in the public consultations and implementation of the law and ensure legal and conscience protections for physicians who support and oppose MAiD. Blackmer states:

The CMA recognised that its policy needed to evolve: if the law were to change, the organisation would support all its members, regardless of their views, in deciding whether to participate in MAID. This was a watershed moment, enabling the association to lead national discussions and to give evidence before Canada’s Supreme Court. 
The association also spent many hours advocating for members who did not want to be forced to participate in MAID in any way, including by referring a patient to another physician for this intervention. The Supreme Court in its ruling quoted from the CMA’s submission and clarified that no healthcare practitioner should be forced to participate against his or her wishes.
The claim that the CMA have supported members who object to participating in MAiD, conflates the truth. 

The CMA has not effectively protected conscience rights for Ontario physicians. In Ontario physicians who will not refer for MAiD have been forced to defend themselves in court to protect their conscience rights. Link to Ontario campaign.

Consider the recent attempt by Blackmer and the CMA to lobby the World Medical Association to become neutral on euthanasia and assisted suicide. It appears that Blackmer, the CMA International lobbyist, had this article published in the BMA to hoodwink UK doctors to support neutrality on assisted suicide. Blackmer presents a false story about the freedom Canadian physicians have concerning MAiD. 

Once MAiD is legal, the pressure is put on physicians to provide.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Special Report: A Scourge of Death Doctors.

This article was published by The American Spectator on January 30, 2019

Wesley J Smith
By Wesley J Smith


Jack Kevorkian has his unworthy successors.

Assisted suicide sure brings out the medical bottom feeders. Jack Kevorkian was the most notorious of these — let’s call them “death doctors” — assisting the suicides of some 130 people during the 1990s. Not only did he help sick, disabled, and (at least 5) healthy despairing people kill themselves, but he did it in a particularly crass fashion, such as having them inhale carbon monoxide from a canister in the back of his old, rusty van.

As a pathologist, Kevorkian did not treat living patients after medical school and was thus hardly qualified to medically counsel the many sad people who sought him out. (One wag, whose name escapes me now, quipped that Kevorkian was the most successful serial killer in history because victims came to him.) Nor was he primarily concerned with alleviating suffering. Rather, as described in his book Prescription Medicide, Kevorkian’s “ultimate aim” was a license to engage in human vivisection, i.e., “the performance of invaluable experiments or other beneficial medical acts under conditions that this first unpleasant step [assisted suicide] can help establish.”

Jack Kevorkian
The point of his ghoulish desire was pure quackery:

[K]nowledge about the essence of human death will of necessity require insight into the nature of the unique awareness of consciousness that characterizes cognitive human life. That is possible only throughobitiatric research [Kevorkian’s name for experimenting on people being euthanized] on living human bodies, and most likely centering on the nervous system… on anesthetized subjects [to] pinpoint the exact onset of extinction of an unknown cognitive mechanism that energizes life.
Good grief.

Despite this — and more — Kevorkian became a media darling, supported by 60 Minutes— including the time he aired a video of himself murdering ALS patient Thomas Youk by lethal injection. (I can still see the late Mike Wallace asking repeatedly, “Is he dead yet? Is he dead yet?”) Kevorkian was also a special celebrity guest at Time magazine’s gala 50th anniversary party, where Tom Cruise ran up to shake his hand. At the end of his life, he received $50,000 per speech — not bad for a failed physician who couldn’t land a position at the end of his medical career.

The Australian doctor Philip Nitschke is another suicide-pushing ideologue par excellence. Not only has he held “how to kill yourself” training seminars around the world, but he was paid by the Hemlock Society (now, Compassion and Choices) to concoct a suicide brew made of common household products called the “Peaceful Pill.” In an interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review, Nitschke said that Peaceful Pills should be made available “in supermarkets” to “anyone who wants it, including the depressed, the elderly bereaved, the troubled teen.”

Philip Nitschke
Until Australia legally prohibited it, Nitschke sold plastic “Exit Bags,” to be put over one’s head while committing suicide. He was involved in several suicides of people who were far from seriously ill. One was cancer patient Nancy Crick, who made breathless news down-under when Nitschke announced at a news conference that he would counsel her on how to commit suicide. He claimed that Crick had terminal cancer. But when her autopsy showed no recurrence of the disease, Nitschke casually admitted he had known she wasn’t terminally ill all along.

Nitschke has also been implicated in the suicides of people who acted upon his advice to purchase an animal euthanasia drug with which to kill themselves. In his most recent death-promoting PR stunt — for which Newsweek praised him as the “Elon Musk of assisted suicide” — Nitschke conjured a futuristic-looking suicide machine that kills with liquid nitrogen and, he brags, can double as a sleek and luxurious casket.


The California physician Lonny Shavelson is the latest entrant in this infamous death doctor medical society. When California legalized assisted suicide, the formerly part-time emergency room doctor and photo journalist announced he was opening a suicide practice where he would confirm a terminal diagnosis and prescribe poison pills for just $2000.

Think about this: As an ER doc, Shavelson is not a trained specialist in treating cancer, ALS, kidney disease, or any of the many other conditions that can lead to a terminal diagnosis. Indeed, he might be incompetent in creating actual treatment plans for such patients or dealing with the myriad situations — including depression — that can arise in such serious circumstances. But as we saw with Kevorkian, death doctoring isn’t about providing proper care. Rather, its sole purpose is getting people dead.

One would hope that a doctor who deals in suicide pills would at the very least exhibit sterling character. Shavelson also fails that basic test. In A Chosen Death, he wrote about watching the leader of a local assisted suicide advocacy group murder a disabled man named Gene, a lonely alcoholic who was partially disabled by a stroke.

To fully understand Shavelson’s utter cravenness, permit me to describe the scene at some length. As Shavelson describes it, “Sarah” had previously assisted a close friend to commit suicide, telling the author that she found the experience tremendously satisfying and powerful, “the most intimate experience you can share with a person.… More than sex. More than birth… more than anything,” including being present for “the deliveries of my four grandchildren.”

A committed death fundamentalist, Sarah wants again to enjoy the intense rush she experienced facilitating her friend’s death, and so she jumps at the chance to help kill Gene when he contacts her for suicide assistance — which was a felony, by the way. He tells Shavelson, who asks to observe Gene’s death for recounting in his book.

Sarah comes to Gene’s home and prepares a poisonous brew, saying, “O.K., toots, here you go,” as if she were handing him a beer.Gene drinks the liquid and begins to fall asleep, with Sarah holding his head on her lap. She puts a plastic bag over his head. But then, suddenly, faced with the prospect of immediate death, Gene changes his mind. He screams, “I’m cold!” and tries to rip the bag off his face. But Sarah won’t allow it. From Shavelson’s account:

His good band flew up to tear off the plastic bag. Sarah’ s hand caught Gene’s wrist and held it. His body thrust upwards. She pulled his arm away and lay across Gene’s shoulders. Sarah rocked back and forth, pinning him down, her fingers twisting the bag to seal it tight at his neck as she repeated, “the light, Gene, go toward the light.” Gene’s body pushed against Sarah’s. Then be stopped moving.
There is a word that describes what happened to Gene: murder. The right, proper, ethical, and human thing for Shavelson to have done would have been to knock Sarah off the helpless man and then quickly dial 911 for an ambulance and the police. But Shavelson did nothing:
“Stop, Sarah” raced through my mind. For whose sake, I thought — Gene’s, so intent on killing himself? The weight of unanswered questions kept me glued to my corner. Was this a suicide, Gene’s right finally to succeed and die? Or was this a needless death encouraged by Sarah’s desire to act? Had Gene’s decision to have me there, to tell me his story, given me the right to stop what was happening — or, equally powerful, the responsibility not to interfere? Or was I obliged by my very presence as a fellow human being, to jump up and stop the craziness? Was it craziness?
Let me help: It was a cowardly abdication of responsibility by Shavelson and the abandonment of a weak and vulnerable man who fought the best he could to live. Adding to the intensity of the wrong, from what a reader can determine in his book, Shavelson never reported the killing to the police.

These days, Shavelson devotes himself to death doctoring, although I have little doubt that he will one day write a book about his suicide adventures. It is a cold business. From a recent story on assisted suicide in the Atlantic:

The patient takes the first drug, which Shavelson separates out from the rest of the mixture, and then Shavelson sits down at the bedside and reads aloud questions from the state’s required report. After about 30 minutes, he asks: “Are you ready to take the medications?” He mixes the drug cocktail and the patient drinks it.

“Usually, they go silent after taking the medication,” he says. “They’ve said what they’re going to say by that time.” For a few minutes, patients usually continue to sit silently, their eyes open. “And then, very, very slowly, they’ll close their eyes.”

Shavelson asks intermittently, “Are you still there?” At first, patients usually say yes, or nod. Within five or 10 minutes, they stop responding to the question. Then Shavelson will gently touch their eyelids. “When people aren’t deeply unconscious, they’ll sort of have a twitching response,” he explains. Within 10 or 15 minutes, the twitching response disappears, and patients enter a deep coma.

Using a heart monitor, Shavelson tells caregivers as a patient’s pulse slows and oxygen levels drop. “We wait a little while, and then I say, ‘Ah, the patient’s now dead.’”
Giving people poison to drink isn’t practicing medicine.

Death doctors don’t need to be good physicians. They don’t need to be specially trained in treating a patient’s underlying medical condition. They don’t need experience in spotting depression, signs of coercion, or mental illness. They don’t even have to be caring human beings. They just need a license to prescribe lethal drugs and/or be otherwise willing to help suicidal people take their own lives. What a disgrace to a venerable profession.

Award winning author Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism and a consultant to the Patients Rights Council. His latest book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Heart-Harvesting Euthanasia Promoted in Transplant Journal

This article was published by National Review online on January 29, 2019


By Wesley J Smith

My first anti-euthanasia column (Newsweek, 1993) worried that once euthanasia became normalized, it would lead to conjoined organ harvesting “as a plum to society.”

I was screamed at and labeled an alarmist. Oh Wesley, people assured me, that will never happen!

Yeah, right. The world’s most respected bioethicists have published serious articles in influential medical journals urging that doctors be allowed to harvest cognitively disabled patients while they are alive — known as ODE, e.g., “organ donation euthanasia” — as a means of cutting transplant waiting times.

That is not yet being done. But as I predicted all those years ago, organ harvesting after euthanasia is allowed in Netherlands and Belgium, and has been performed at least once in Canada.

Now, the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation — a respectable transplant medical journal, not a nut fringe Internet blog — has published an article proposing beating–heart harvesting as a form of euthanasia where medicalized homicide is legal. Good grief.

First, the authors propose that doctors bring up organ transplantation to euthanasia seekers. From “Euthanasia Through Living Organ Donation”:
Current guidelines [in the Netherlands] state that only the patient should pose the question of organ donation, and only after a positive response to the euthanasia question, thus keeping both procedures strictly separated. However, it is our belief that a physician should always inform a patient who is medically suitable about the possibility of organ donation, even if this could disrupt the trust relationship, as many patients may choose not to ask about donation because they assume it is not possible in this context. Consent of the patient’s relatives for organ donation after euthanasia is not required.
Realize that the people who are harvested after euthanasia today are sometimes mentally ill, with no other underlying medical condition. Why? Because they have good organs. Others are disabled by neuromuscular conditions, who may also be harvested for the same reasons.

But why wait until the patients are dead? Let’s permit ODE, including live heart harvesting! First, they admit the obvious:

Because the proposed procedure does not involve patients who are brain dead, “living donation” is the correct term to use, even though this is normally used for people who donate their kidney, and do not die as a result of donation.
Yes, indeed: Taking out a beating heart will be 100 percent fatal.

The authors engage in the usual bioethical hand-wringing discussing objections, only to — voila! — conclude that heart harvesting would be peachy keen where euthanasia is legal. They even invoke the Hippocratic Oath!

Living donation in combination with euthanasia does not harm the patient more than organ donation after euthanasia does, or euthanasia without organ donation for that matter. 
Making ODE possible, compared with neglecting the patient’s wish and not facilitating this procedure, respects the Hippocratic Oath, which mandates taking care of the organ donor and the recipient in the best possible way.
The Hippocratic Oath explicitly forbids euthanasia, but never mind.

The authors conclude:

The right of self-determination of the patient who meets the due diligence requirements for euthanasia should ideally give such a patient the possibility of also donating his heart, so that others can be helped and/or saved by as many donated organs as possible. Implementing ODE into practice should be approached with caution, however, as public perception may not yet be ready for this combination of procedures.
May the public never be ready to accept doctors’ taking a living patient — who may not even be physically ill — into a surgical suite, anesthetizing him, and then harvesting his beating heart.

Oh, Wesley, that will never happen! Yeah, right.

Those with eyes to see, let them see.

New Mexico amends the most extreme assisted suicide bill in America.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

New Mexico legislature.
Yesterday, the New Mexico's Health and Human Services committee held public hearings on assisted suicide bill HB 90 that I have called the most extreme bill that I have ever seen. 


According to Eric Wicklund, writing for mhealthintelligence.com, the bills sponsor amended the bill, after the public hearing, removing the approval of death by telemedicine and changing the definition of terminal to a 6 month prognosis.

The original Bill HB 90 (red means removed):
  1. Allows nurses and physician assistants to participate in assisted suicide by defining "health care provider" to include: a licensed physician, a licensed osteopathic physician, a licensed nurse, and a licensed physician assistant. 
  2. Does not require the person to "self administer." The bill states "may self-administer" meaning that euthanasia is possible.
  3. Reduces waiting period to 48 hours to receive the lethal drugs.
  4. Allows people with mental health disorders to die by assisted suicide by enabling licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, master social worker, psychiatric nurse practitioner or professional clinical mental health counselor to approve assisted suicide for people with mental health disorders.
  5. Requires health care providers to falsify the death certificate.
  6. Removes conscience rights for health care providers who object to assisted suicide by requiring them to refer patients to a health care provider who is willing to prescribe assisted suicide.
  7. Basis decisions on a "good faith compliance."  It is impossible to prove that someone who participated in the act did not do so in "good faith."
  8. Allows the "health care provider" to approve death via "telemedicine."
  9. Replaces a the normal 6 month terminal diagnosis with the undefined term: "foreseeable future."  What does it mean that a terminal illness may cause death in the foreseeable future?
Legalizing assisted suicide gives "third parties" the right in law to be involved with abandoning patients to death of a person when they are at the lowest time of their life.

It is the concept of assisted suicide that is wrong. The fact that the extreme bill was amended doesn't mean that the bill can now be supported.

Monday, January 28, 2019

New Mexico's radical assisted suicide bill is part of the new suicide lobby strategy.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

New Mexico legislature
New Mexico's assisted suicide Bill HB 90, is the most extreme assisted suicide bill I have ever seen


After reading HB 90 I asked the question: Is the assisted suicide lobby behind HB 90 or is the author of the bill, Deborah Armstrong (Dem) more radical?

Jennifer Graham, writing for the Deseret News asks Kim Callinan, the CEO of  the assisted suicide lobby group, Compassion & Choices, (formerly known as the Hemlock Society) about the use of "telemedicine" to approve deaths in New Mexico. Graham reports:
Proponents of medical assistance in dying say the use of telemedicine — diagnosing and treating patients from a distance through technology — is a logical next step for a practice that has been legal in some states for more than 20 years. They applaud New Mexico for drafting a bill that removes “unnecessary regulatory roadblocks” that make a dying person’s last stage of life even more difficult, and in some cases, prohibit the person from taking advantage of the law because of mandated waiting periods.
The assisted suicide lobby appears to have chosen New Mexico to introduce this extreme and expansive assisted suicide bill.

In her January 1 article: End-of-Life option laws should avoid needless red tape, Kim Callinan, argues that assisted suicide laws require fewer regulations. Callinan writes:
If lawmakers want to improve medical aid in dying laws, then let’s address the real problem: There are too many regulatory roadblocks already! I am not suggesting changing the eligibility requirements, as our opposition will suggest. I am merely suggesting that we drop some of the regulations that put unnecessary roadblocks in place.
Callinan continues her article by arguing that waiting periods for assisted suicide should be eliminated and claims that there have been no problems with assisted suicide laws.

New Mexico's assisted suicide bill is the most extreme bill that I have ever seen. The original Bill HB 90:
  1. Allows nurses and physician assistants to participate in assisted suicide by defining "health care provider" to include: a licensed physician, a licensed osteopathic physician, a licensed nurse, and a licensed physician assistant. 
  2. Does not require the person to "self administer." The bill states "may self-administer" meaning that euthanasia is possible.
  3. Reduces waiting period to 48 hours to receive the lethal drugs.
  4. Allows people with mental health disorders to die by assisted suicide by enabling licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, master social worker, psychiatric nurse practitioner or professional clinical mental health counselor to approve assisted suicide for people with mental health disorders.
  5. Allows the "health care provider" to approve death via "telemedicine."
  6. Replaces a the normal 6 month terminal diagnosis with the undefined term: "foreseeable future."  What does it mean that a terminal illness may cause death in the foreseeable future?
  7. Requires health care providers to falsify the death certificate.
  8. Removes conscience rights for health care providers who object to assisted suicide by requiring them to refer patients to a health care provider who is willing to prescribe assisted suicide.
  9. Basis decisions on a "good faith compliance."  It is impossible to prove that someone who participated in the act did not do so in "good faith."
Years ago I stated that the assisted suicide lobby would expand the parameters for prescribing lethal drugs in the future. It appears that the future is now.

Montana bill (HB 284) would prohibit assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


For the past few years Montanans have faced a confusing situation concerning assisted suicide. In 2009, the Baxter court decision declared that Montana citizens had a right to assisted suicide. The Baxter decision was appealed to the Montana Supreme Court where it was decided that Montana citizens do not have a right to assisted suicide but even but the Court granted a tightly worded defense of consent, if a physician was prosecuted for assisted suicide.
Physician-Assisted Suicide is not legal in Montana.
Since the Montana Supreme Court decision, the assisted suicide lobby has claimed that assisted suicide is legal in Montana, while in fact assisted suicide is technically prohibited.

This year House Bill 284 was introduced to reverse the effect of the Montana Supreme Court decision by clarifying that consent is ineffective for homicide or assisted suicide. HB 284 states:

Section 1. Section 45-2-211, MCA, is amended to read: "45-2-211. Consent as defense. 
(1) The consent of the victim to conduct charged to constitute an offense or to the result thereof is a defense. 
(2) Consent is ineffective if:
(a) it is given by a person who is legally incompetent to authorize the conduct charged to constitute the offense;
(b) it is given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease or disorder, or intoxication is unable to make a reasonable judgment as to the nature or harmfulness of the conduct charged to constitute the offense;
(c) it is induced by force, duress, or deception; or
(d) it is against public policy to permit the conduct or the resulting harm, even though consented to.
(3) (a) For the purposes of subsection (2)(d), physician aid in dying is against public policy, and a patient's consent to physician aid in dying is not a defense to a charge of homicide against the aiding physician.
(b) For the purposes of this subsection (3), "physician aid in dying" means an act by a physician of prescribing a lethal dose of medication to a patient that the patient may self-administer to end the patient's life. The term does not include an act of withholding or withdrawing a life-sustaining treatment or procedure authorized pursuant to Title 50, chapter 9 or 10."
Two years ago, a similar bill lost on a tie vote.

Media Advisory: Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Laws Are Bad Public Policy


NDY issued this Media Advisory on the Monday morning, January 28, 2019.

No coverage of the assisted suicide issue is fair and balanced without the perspective of New York disability organizations and individuals who oppose it. (Proponents of bills to legalize assisted suicide will be holding a press conference at the state capital in Albany on Monday at 10:30 a.m.)

We live with a profit driven healthcare system facing tremendous cost-cutting pressures. Assisted suicide is the cheapest “treatment.” These bills grant legal immunity to doctors and others who assist suicides of people who may have a terminal condition. They do not prevent mistakes, coercion or abuse and, therefore, endanger the lives of old, ill and disabled people.

To speak with New York disability organizations and individuals who oppose assisted suicide bills, including members in Albany, please contact:

Diane Coleman, JD
President/CEO
Not Dead Yet
708-420-0539
dcoleman@notdeadyet.org

Gregg Beratan
Manager of Government Affairs
Center for Disability Rights
518-320-7100 ext. 2208
gberatan@cdrnys.org

Assisted suicide promotes the idea that life with a disabling condition is not worth living.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


A letter by Elizabeth Schiltz from Minneapolis that was published in the Star Tribune on January 23 writes in her response to a pro-assisted suicide letter that: Simply put, assisted suicide sends a message we shouldn’t want to send.

Schiltz, writes from the perspective of someone who cared for her mother through the final years with Parkinsons:

In the 2017 case of Myers vs. Schneiderman, 11 disability-rights organizations filed an amicus brief opposing New York’s effort to legalize assisted suicide. They argued: 
“By asserting that it is irrational for a non-disabled person to end his or her life, but rational for a disabled person to do so, appellants argue that the disabled person’s life is intrinsically less worthy of state protection than a nondisabled person’s life. … 
“Central to the civil rights of people with disabilities is the idea that a disabling condition does not inherently diminish one’s life; rather, stereotypes, prejudices, and barriers preventing assistance with activities of daily living do so. In contrast, assisted suicide gives legal force to the idea that life with a disabling condition is not worth living.”
Thank you to Elizabeth Schiltz and groups like Not Dead Yet for speaking out against the discriminatory practice of assisted suicide.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

New York may debate three bills concerning assisted suicide. The assisted suicide bill allows suicide tourism.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition



There are three assisted suicide related bills introduced in New York.

The first bill A 30 is a study bill requiring the commissioner of health to conduct a study relating to medical aid in dying. Study bills always raise a caution because you don't study an issue unless you are considering legalization.

The bill concludes: The commissioner of health shall submit a report including recommendations and findings based on this study to the governor, the temprary president of the senate, the speaker of the assembly and the chairs of the senate and assembly standing committees on health no later than December 31, 2020.


Most studies on euthanasia and assisted suicide have been intentionally one-sided. If this bill passes EPC - USA will challenge the New York commissioner of health to conduct a transparent, open and complete report. 

We do not oppose the debate we oppose fake debates.

The second bill A02694 would legalize assisted suicide in New York. 

This bill follows a similar construct to the current Oregon assisted suicide law. The writer of the bill has attempted to use clear definitions in response to critics who correctly argue that the Oregon assisted suicide law lacks clear definitions that are being interpreted in a wider manner.

This bill does not require the patient to be a citizen of New York. Therefore this bill allows suicide tourism.

This bill does not require a waiting period, which follows the new direction of the assisted suicide lobby. Therefore any person could quickly die by assisted suicide in New York.

This bill requires the physician to falsify the death certificate by requiring the physician to state that the cause of death is the medical condition and not assisted suicide.

All assisted suicide bills assume that it is possible to identify and safeguard a person who is being coerced, abused or living with situational depression or temporary feelings of hopelessness. You cannot bring patients back from a wrongful death.

There are likely other issues with this bill not stated in this article.

The third bill A647 would prohibit the payment of life insurance for assisted suicide / medical aid in dying. This bill would eliminate the incentive to coerce a person, who may be terminally ill, to be prescribed lethal drugs to assist a suicide.

Last year, an Australian man was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for assisting his wife's suicide to gain $1.4 million from her life insurance.

Intentional ending of a patient’s life more than ‘ medical error’?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last week, Limaohio.com columnist, Melissa Martin comments on the Ohio Department of Health investigation concerning 27 cases of massive overdoses of pain medication by a Ohio doctor and assisted suicide.

Melissa Martin
Commenting on the Ohio overdoses, Martin writes:

According a 2019 article in the Columbus Dispatch, “The Ohio Department of Health has begun an investigation into a Mount Carmel doctor accused of ordering potentially fatal doses of painkiller for 27 near-death hospital patients, all of whom have died. Mount Carmel officials fired the doctor and placed 20 pharmacists and nurses on leave while they look into the cases.” 
“Eighteen months ago, Mount Carmel began work to stop preventable medical errors — work that puts systems into place to make the care we provide highly reliable and consistent,” is another statement on the Mount Carmel website. 
Why is a policy to prevent medical errors not ongoing? Why 18 months ago? Why not prior to opening the hospital for business? It appears that whistle-blowing employees came forth with the allegations. When did the intentional ending of a patient’s life by a physician become ‘a medical error’?
Martin puts the Ohio investigation into the context of other medical professionals. She writes:
Donald Harvey, a nurse’s aide, dubbed “the Angle of Death,” pleaded guilty in 1987 to killing 55 patients in Cincinnati and Kentucky hospitals. Many of his victims were chronically ill patients. He claimed he was ending their suffering. “Harvey told a newspaper after he pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty that he liked the control of determining who lived and died. Former Hamilton County Prosecutor Arthur Ney Jr. who prosecuted the cases in Cincinnati said Harvey was not a mercy killer,” according to a 2017 article in USA Today. 
Lisa Schattinger, a nurse, founded Ohio End of Life Options in 2015. The members support a Death with Dignity law in Ohio...
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a medical pathologist, was arrested, tried in a court of law, and convicted of physician-assisted suicide. According to a 2011 article in the New York Times, “The American Medical Association in 1995 called him “a reckless instrument of death” who “poses a great threat to the public.”

Martin concludes the article by stating:
The phrase ‘physician-assisted suicide’ has been replaced by ‘death with dignity.’ Loaded language is a persuasive technique used to heighten emotion, gain support, and sway voters. And loaded phrases are changed to make horrific acts more palatable to the public. 
Do you support or oppose a Death with Dignity law in Ohio for the terminally ill? 
Do you support or oppose the alleged acts of a rogue physician to end the suffering of terminally ill patients by injecting lethal doses of fentanyl at Mount Carmel hospital in Columbus? Mercy killings or playing God?
If you think the article by Melissa Martin is extreme, maybe you need to read about Charles Cullen, a nurse who killed at least 40 patients and said "I thought I was helping."

Printfriendly