Thursday, March 24, 2016

Rhode Island debates assisted suicide.

By Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Rhode Island State House Health, Education and Welfare Committee had a public hearing on an assisted suicide bill on Wednesday March 23.

Nancy Elliott testifies against assisted suicide in Rhode Island.

Jennifer Bogden reported for the Providence Journal on the hearings. According to the report, Margaret Dore, an attorney from Washington State, where assisted suicide is legal, urged lawmakers to:
"consider the details of the bill. In some cases, a person who has insulin-dependent diabetes can be considered to have a terminal illness, she said."
"This bill encourages people to throw away their lives,"
John Kelly (picture) testifying,
last year, in Connecticut.
Linda Borg, reported in the Providence Journal, on the testimony by John Kelly, the New England regional coordinator for Not Dead Yet, who stated:

"Mistakes are so common when it comes to diagnoses, much less terminal diagnoses," 
"This is about putting the state's imprimatur on a program in which someone agrees that some people are better off dead."
Borg also reported that Thomas Nerney, director of the Institute for Health Quality and Ethics in Rhode Island testified that:

this bill makes "suicide a medical option (that) changes the very nature of medicine," adding that it would reverse centuries of trust between doctors and patients. 
"We have a terrible history in this country of segregating people with disabilities and pushing them into second-class citizenship," he said. Nerney worries that this bill might lead insurance companies and Medicaid to withhold treatment for terminally ill patients or withdraw coverage for expensive medications.

Bogden, in her report, also focused on Julie Lamin, the daughter of Susanna Brown. Brown couldn't make it to the State House Wednesday night to testify against the bill. The article reported:
The 75-year-old North Scituate resident has breast cancer that has spread to her bones, and she's struggling with her latest chemotherapy treatment. So she sent her daughter, Julie Lamin, to tell lawmakers this: 
"She insisted that I come and speak on her behalf because this bill insults the dignity of her life," 
"She wanted to tell you that her life is valuable until that last breath and that this bill really scares her ... because someone could say, 'Well you're going to be suffering, and we don't want you to suffer. You can end it early.'" 
Brown was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2008. Her family expected she might live a year, but with treatment she has experienced the "many joys and sorrows and everything that goes along with life since 2008," Lamin said. "If you take hope away, you get despair. And if you get despair, you just get more suffering."
Rhode Island is one of a dozen states that have debated assisted suicide in 2016. Currently, every state legislature that debated assisted suicide also rejected assisted suicide.

1 comment:

BradleyMTaas said...

I take exception to the polling.
I have found (serving 60 fair booth days) that about half of the public thinks they are in favor of such a law, that is until they learn about the flaws in the laws that create new paths of elder abuse with immunity. Once they learn that a predatory heir may steer the signup process and then forcibly administer the lethal dose without oversight, they all said, “I am not for that!”.
Anyway all of these Oregon Model bills have the same flaws that eviscerate flaunted safeguards.
For example how many times have you nodded your head when the proponents declared that the lethal dose must be self-administered?
Well, read the language of the law/bill and you will find that there is no means provided to insure that marketing point. For example “self-administrate” was mentioned 9 times in the 7 page Rhode Island 2016—H 7659 and yet there was no means provided to confirm that the lethal dose was forced on not, who would know if they struggled and not consented to doing it now.
In fact what is provided is that everyone involved, including nonmedical people, gets good faith immunity. In addition allowing a stranger that claims “to know how the person communicates” may speak for them eviscerates all the intended safeguards, page 1, lines 12-13.
Along with allowing predatory heirs and staff to witness even as other family members are not required to be contact.
This is a very dangerous public policy that by their own records in OR and WA is establishing poisoning as the "medical standard of care" for people that have “feelings” of fear of the loss of autonomy.
We are all at risk of abuse by these poorly composed laws/bills that would establish dangerous public policy.

Bradley Williams
MTaas dot org