Thursday, February 13, 2020

Massachusetts assisted suicide bill may permit euthanasia (homicide). Steering is the elephant in the room.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

It is important to examine the language of assisted suicide bills. The promoters of assisted suicide will often claim that a bill does one thing, where in fact the language of the bill has wider interpretations.

Assisted suicide is an act whereby one person (usually a physician) provides a prescription for a lethal drug cocktail knowing that the patient intends to use it for suicide.

The Massachusetts assisted suicide bills (S. 1208 and H. 1926) are designed as an application process for obtaining a lethal drug cocktail. 

Most assisted suicide bills state that the person must self-administer the lethal drugs, making it an assisted suicide.

The Massachusetts bills state that the patient can choose to self-administer, meaning that the law permits another person to administer the lethal dose.

The bills states: 
“Self-administer” means a qualified patient’s act of ingesting medication obtained pursuant to this chapter.
This definition does not prevent another person from administering the lethal dose, that the person "ingests." 

When another person administers the lethal dose, the act is called euthanasia or homicide.

Nancy Elliott, EPC-USA Chair, in a letter to Massachusetts politicians states that "steering is the elephant in the room." She wrote:
...Steering is the elephant in the room. I was at a hearing for Assisted Suicide in Massachusetts a few years back where a doctor stated that Assisted Suicide laws were something he was in favor of. He continued with his points and ended by saying that he felt it was the responsibility for a good doctor “to guide people to make the right choice.” I do not think he intended to say that but is there any doubt that this pro suicide doctor would try to persuade his patients to follow his wishes, concerning their Assisted Suicide.
The Massachusetts bill does admit that most assisted suicide deaths are not quick and painless. The bills state:
I further understand that although most deaths occur within three hours, my death may take longer and my physician has counseled me about this possibility. (my emphasis)
An recent article in the Spring Hill Insider looks at human experiments being done to find a cheaper lethal drug cocktail for assisted suicide. 

The article states that assisted suicide researchers are promoting a third generation of lethal drug cocktails. The results of the first two lethal drug cocktails were:
The (first) turned out to be too harsh, burning patients’ mouths and throats, causing some to scream in pain. The second drug mix, used 67 times, has led to deaths that stretched out hours in some patients — and up to 31 hours in one case.
The current drug cocktails have caused painful assisted suicide deaths that may take many hours to die.

Last month a Massachusetts Superior Court decided that there is no right to assisted suicide. The court explained:
Finally the Commonwealth produced expert testimony that the permissible end-of-life alternatives potentially involve far less risk than MAID because they occur in hospitals or other institutions devoted to medical treatment and involve numerous physicians and staff personnel, which together provide an environment that lends itself to oversight and responsibility... MAID, on the other hand, potentially takes place in an uncontrolled environment, without assurance that the patient will administer the medication when close to death and without physician oversight.
The Massachusetts assisted suicide bills are not designed to protect people at a vulnerable time in their life, but rather to protect physicians who are willing to assist in killing their patients. The bill is not limited to assisted suicide and it ignores the decision of Massachusetts citizens who rejected an assisted suicide referendum a few years ago.

Massachusetts legislators need to reject these assisted suicide bills.

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