Friday, February 24, 2023

Connecticut assisted suicide bill 1076 must be defeated.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Cathy Ludlum, Second Thoughts Connecticut
Last year I celebrated the defeat of the Connecticut assisted suicide bill by one vote in the judiciary committee. That bill was the 10th consecutive assisted suicide bill in Connecticut to fail. But I also told my supporters that the battle in Connecticut may return for an eleventh straight year in 2023.

This year's Connecticut Assembly Bill 1076 has been amended to appear specifically tighter in its wording, than previous bills because the assisted suicide lobby has failed to legalize assisted suicide for 10 consequtive years. The New York assisted suicide bill is also written in a tighter manner, based on the fact that the assisted suicide lobby has failed to legalize assisted suicide in New York.

The assisted suicide lobby has no intention of leaving the bill restrictions in place. The assisted suicide lobby has two strategies, the first is to do what is necessary to legalize assisted suicide and the second is to expand those bills once legal.

A few years ago, Hawaii was a state that had rejected assisted suicide bills over consequtive years. The Hawaii legislature legalized assisted suicide in 2018. The very next year the assisted suicide lobby was pressuring the Hawaii legislature to expand their law. Hawaii is currently debating House Bill 650 to expand their assisted suicide law.

Members of the Connecticut legislature must reject the current bill, because assisted suicide is always wrong and they assisted suicide lobby are trying to legalize assisted suicide and, if passed, they will amend it in the coming years.

The bills to legalize assisted suicide in Minnesota, a state that has not debated assisted suicide every year, is a wider bill than Connecticut.

The Minnesota bill:

  • Allows non physicians to assess, approve and prescribe lethal assisted suicide drugs. Minnesota defines a "Provider" as: a doctor of medicine or osteopathy, and an advanced practice registered nurse. 
  • Allows lesser trained mental health professionals to assess competency. "Licensed mental health provider" is defined as a psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or clinical professional counselor. 
  • There is no waiting period for being approved for assisted suicide. It is possible that a person request assisted suicide and die the same day.
  • Allows the lethal drug cocktail to be delivered by mail or messenger service. 
  • Allows a healthcare facility to prohibit assisted suicide but the facility cannot prohibit information about assisted suicide or referrals for assisted suicide.
  • Does not require the person requesting death by lethal drugs to be a resident of Minnesota. Oregon withdrew their residency requirement in 2022. There is now an assisted suicide clinic and suicide tourists in Oregon. 
  • Creates a "standard of care" for assisted suicide, Medical care that complies with the requirements of this section meets the medical standard of care. Assisted suicide is not medical care.

By reading the articles by the assisted suicide lobby and assisted suicide bills that are being promoted by the assisted suicide lobby, they are clearly moving to allowing an easier approval process and to enable more people to qualify for assisted suicide.

Recently Oregon withdrew their residency requirement for assisted suicide and Vermont has a bill to also remove their residency requirement. Oregon, Vermont and California lessened their waiting periods for assisted suicide and Hawaii and Washington state currently have bills that will lessen their waiting periods.

So lets call a spade a spade. Connecticut has rejected assisted suicide for 10 consecutive years and in response the assisted suicide lobby has presented a tighter bill. If Connecticut passes Assembly Bill 1076, within a year or two, the assisted suicide lobby will be expanding it.

The only way to protect vulnerable people is to reject assisted suicide completely.

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