Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Recently, a long time assisted suicide lobby leader expressed these changes as Medical Aid in Dying 3.0. He described the original Oregon and Washington State assisted suicide laws as Medical Aid in Dying 1.0. He then refers to the recent expansions of assisted suicide laws as Medical Aid in Dying 2.0. He then describes the recent court cases to further expand assisted suicide to euthanasia and then nationally as Medical Aid in Dying 3.0.
Medical Aid in Dying 2.0?
The first set of assisted suicide expansions included eliminating the 15-day waiting period and expanding who can prescribe and carry-out an assisted suicide death.
In July 2019 Oregon Governor Kate Brown expanded the assisted suicide law by signing Bill SB 0579 into law. This bill, essentially, eliminates the 15 day waiting period to die by assisted suicide, a safeguard that was mean't to assure that a person has an opportunity to change their mind.
Proponents of the bill argued that the bill only applies to people with less than 15 days to live, and yet, it is difficult to know when someone has less than 15 days to live.
New Mexico also expanded who could prescribe and participate in assisted suicide. HB 47 allowed non-physicians defined as "health care providers" to approve and prescribe lethal drugs. "Health care providers" includes physicians, licensed physician assistants, osteopathic physicians, or nurses registered in advanced practice. The assisted suicide lobby is expanding who can prescribe and participate since very few physicians are willing to assist a suicide.
Last year I wrote about the attempt by the assisted suicide lobby to use Covid 19 guidelines to permit assisted suicide by telehealth (Link to the article). Assisted suicide by telehealth may extend approvals for assisted suicide to all 50 US states.
In late October, an assisted suicide lobby group, and Dr Nicholas Gideones, a doctor who prescribes assisted suicide drug cocktails, launched a court case to challenge the Oregon assisted suicide law residency requirement. The lawsuit has been filed in the federal court, claims that the residency requirement is unconstitutional.
If the assisted suicide lobby and Dr Gideones win their legal challenge to the Oregon state residency requirement then the Oregon assisted suicide law would apply to every American. This court case directly affects every state that protects people from assisted suicide.
I predict that the assisted suicide lobby will launch a few more court cases within the next year with the hope of further expanding assisted suicide in the US. One case might be to challenge the 6 month prognosis requirement while another might attempt to have assisted suicide defined as medical treatment.
This article only creates awareness. What is needed is a greater effort to expose and stop the expansion of assisted suicide in America.