Friday, December 21, 2018

New Mexico assisted suicide bill is the most extreme bill.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

House Bill 90 was introduced in New Mexico by Deborah Armstrong (Dem) to legalize assisted suicide. The bill is referred to as The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act.

HB 90 is the most extreme assisted suicide bill that I have seen.

The bill allows assisted suicide for psychiatric conditions, to be done to someone with an undefined "terminal prognosis," to be done by nurses and physician assistants, and it even allows it to be approved via telemedicine.

The language of the legislation determines the parameters of the law. HB 90 is wider than any previous US assisted suicide bill. HB 90 lacks clarity which has led to several interpretations of the bill.

I interpret the bill in the following manner:
  1. The bill 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. The bill does not require the person to "self administer." The bill states "may self-administer" therefore euthanasia is possible. 
  3. The bill allows people with mental health disorders to die by assisted suicide. The bill enables 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. 
  4. The bill does not require a second assessor unless the person has a mental health disorder or intellectual disability. 
  5. The bill allows the "health care provider" to approve death via "tele-medicine." 
  6. The bill replaces the 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. The bill reduces the waiting period to 48 hours to receive the lethal drugs. 
  8. The bill requires health care providers to falsify the death certificate. 
  9. The bill provides legal protection for anyone who participates in the act. 
  10. The bill 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. 
  11. The bill 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."
Section 4 of the bill enables people with mental health disorders and intellectual disabilities to die by assisted suicide. The bill requires people with a mental health disorder or intellectual disability to be evaluated by one of the persons listed above (#3). The bill enables a mental health counselor to approve assisted suicide after one visit or after an assessment by "telemedicine."

Finally, this bill reduces the reporting procedure to require health care providers to self-report only the most basic data such as: age, race, sex, whether the person was enrolled in hospice, the underlying medical conditions, and the date of death. It would be impossible to determine if abuse of the law occurs.

Michelle Lujan Grisham, the recently elected Democrat Governor of New Mexico, stated during the election that she supports the legalization of assisted suicide.

New Mexico has been debating assisted suicide for many years. During the previous legislative session the New Mexico Senate defeated the assisted suicide bill by a vote of 22 to 20.

New Mexico assisted suicide House Bill 90 is designed to kill.


gordon friesen said...

I have an acquaintance who is an "osteopath". In discussing what an osteopath actually does, it boiled down to : something that is not ordinary medicine. Or, something you do when no scientific help is of any use, or, well you get the idea. Seriously, the whole thing is defined in opposition to scientific medicine.

So now, these (dare I say) quacks, are to have the ability to prescribe death as a treatment ?

Heaven help us all.

Best regards,

Gordon, from Montreal

Sheila said...

Killers - no conscience - throw them all in jail. Life is sacred. No assisted suicide

Daniel said...

Adolf Hitler is smiling...all what our soldier fought against during ww2 becomes officially legal. Next they will select who is "uselles" and terminate persons life. All legally.

Unknown said...

Mr. Friesen,

Although I disapprove of assisted suicide and euthanasia under any circumstances, I believe you are incorrect about the medical practice of most osteopathic physicians (DOs), at least in the United States. Perhaps you were referring to chiropractors (DCs) instead?

Although their medical education does place a little more emphasis on the bones and spine than MDs, the medical education of DOs is otherwise equivalent to MDs. In some cases, they do the same medical internship/residencies and subspecialty fellowships as MDs. They speciaize in the same areas as MDs. The family medicine practice with which my primary care doctor (an MD) is affiliated has five MDs and three DOs. They all have the same responsibilities. The upper extremity specialist who probably saved my dominant arm below the elbow after a serious motor vehicle accident was an orthopedic surgeon, a DO who did a fellowship in hand surgery that accepted both MDs and DOs alike. The orthopedic surgery practice with which he is affiliated has been voted best in our metro area of 1.7 million several times. At least one-third of its physicians are DOs.


Sue McKeown
Gahanna, OH, USA (suburban Columbus, OH)