Saturday, March 15, 2014

The majority of Connecticut residents do not support assisted suicide.

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

comprehensive poll on assisted suicide done by the Marist polling firm found that the majority of Connecticut residents do not support assisted suicide and a strong majority of Connecticut residents do not consider assisted suicide bill HB 5326 to be a legislative priority.

The survey of 1000 concerning assisted suicide bill HB 5326 — that would allow doctors to prescribe a fatal dose of drugs to patients who request it and are believed to have a terminal illness was done between March 6 - 9, 2014. The poll  The Joint Committee on Public Health has scheduled a hearing for the bill on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

The poll found that assisted suicide runs counter to the majority of Connecticut residents’ views about a doctor’s proper role in end-of-life situations. 

Gov Daniel Malloy
On Friday March 14, the Connecticut Mirror reported Gov. Daniel Malloy stated that:
“I don’t think in society we should be viewed as encouraging suicide.” 
"I then become a little uneasy when it comes to saying that as a matter of state policy, that we're going to take proactive actions to end life."
● 55% believe a doctor should not prescribe or provide life-ending drugs, but instead should manage the illness or be allowed to remove a respirator or other medical interventions so nature can take its course.
● 38% believe a doctor should actively assist in taking a person’s life by prescribing (21%) or administering (17%) fatal doses of drugs.
● 70% see the issue as a low priority or not an issue to be addressed by the governor and state legislature, 
● 65% of residents in the state worry that if the law passes, those without better health insurance could have fewer end-of-life options. 
● 64% worry that the state of mind of a patient may be misjudged since the bill allows doctors who are not mental health professionals to determine the patient’s state of mind. 
● 63% worry that the doctor’s prediction of the course of the disease could be inaccurate, 
● 63% worry that the elderly could be at risk in nursing homes or health care facilities. 
● 58% are concerned that patients who suffer from depression will be more likely to want to take their own lives.

Residents are divided over whether patients may be pressured by their families or friends to end their lives (47% concerned) or whether it may become a cost-saving measure for health decisions (45% concerned) or whether the benefits of such a law outweigh the risks or the risks outweigh the benefits (46% to 45%, respectively) but by a 14-point margin (46% to 32%), Connecticut residents are less likely to trust doctors who see their role as assisting the terminally ill by prescribing a fatal dose of drugs.

Only (16%) of Connecticut residents have heard much about the proposed bill and only (23%) say it should be an immediate priority for the governor and state legislature.

The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted March 6, 2014, through March 9, 2014, by The Marist Poll and sponsored by The Knights of Columbus. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the state of Connecticut were interviewed by telephone using live interviewers on either their landline or cell phone.

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