Wednesday, January 18, 2023

New York assisted suicide bill A995. Killing is not healthcare.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

New York State assisted suicide Assembly Bill 995 (A00995) and Senate Bill S2445 that are based on the original Oregon assisted suicide law. Assemblymember Amy Paulin has sponsored A995 to legalize assisted suicide, but if assisting a suicide is legal, the assisted suicide lobby will immediately push for expansions of the law.

Assisted suicide is not healthcare. It is not about eliminating suffering. We need a society that cares for people and works to assure that symptoms are relieved. 

The assisted suicide lobby is committed to expanding all current assisted suicide laws by: eliminating waiting periods and residency requirements, expanding who can approve and prescribe the lethal drugs, expanding the definition of terminal and making it possible to approve and prescribe lethal drugs by telemedicine.

The assisted suicide lobby will sell Bill A00995 based on the "safeguards" and the fact that the bill has a waiting period, a residency requirement, limits approvals and prescribing to physicians, and defines terminal illness as have a six month prognosis, but as we have seen in all states, once assisted suicide is legal, there is an immediate push to expand it.

Considering this, and other concerning data, it is shocking that House Bill 1281 proposes to expand Washington state's assisted suicide law (among other ways) by:

  1. Changes the definition of who can approve and prescribe assisted suicide from physicians to "qualified medical providers" which includes: physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
  2. Expands who can counsel a person when the consent is considered questionable, from psychiatrists or psychologists to include independent clinical social worker, advanced social worker, mental health counselor, or psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner.
  3. Permitting the lethal drugs to be delivered by courier or mail service.
  4. Shortens the waiting period from 15 days to 7 days.
  5. It allows the "qualified medical provider" to waive the 7 day waiting period if someone is nearing death, allowing a same day death.
  6. It limits the right of a religiously based healthcare provider from preventing an employee from providing assisted suicide.

I stated above (among other ways) because HB 1281 offers several minor amendments to the assisted suicide law that I have not listed.

The assisted suicide lobby have a strategy of first legalizing assisted suicide and then expanding the law to enable an easier access to killing.

We need a culture that supports caring for people not killing them.

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