Monday, February 13, 2023

Seven states are debating the legalization of assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Anita Cameron (center)
James Reinl, social affairs columnist for the Daily Mail, wrote an article that was published on February 11, 2023 concerning the assisted suicide debate in 7 US states. The article interviews several people with personal stories related to assisted suicide.

The story begins by interviewing Anita Cameron, who is a leader of the disability rights group, Not Dead Yet. Her mother Anita Bozeman was told, in 2009, that she had terminal lung cancer and her doctor hinted that assisted suicide would be an option. Bozeman, who said that she was 'too ornery to die' lived another 12 years and died at home in February 2021. Cameron told Reinl:

I'm just so thankful. We wouldn't have had 11 years and 10 months more of my mom, to see her grandkids get married and have kids,'
Cameron says that she is frightened as the 10 US states that have legalized assisted suicide are loosening their rules and may soon become like Canada. Reinl reported:
Meanwhile, some of the 10 states that already allow medical aid-in-dying (MAiD) are loosening their rules, by cutting wait times, letting nurses join doctors in prescribing lethal drugs, and by letting out-of-staters visit to end their lives.
Reinl reports that not only are the states that have legalized assisted suicide loosening their rules but some people who are dying by assisted suicide that don't technically qualify. Reinl writes:
Some Americans who receive fatal doses do not appear to meet the requirements.

Last year, Dr Jennifer Gaudiani, who treats eating disorders, stoked controversy by prescribing lethal doses to three patients with anorexia nervosa — a mental health and body image condition that often sees sufferers starve themselves.

One 36-year-old woman died after ingesting the drugs. Dr Gaudiani, who still practices, argued that anorexia, while not as severe as cancer, is brutally lethal for sufferers.

Still, even pro-MAiD groups criticized her for doling out drugs to folks with psychiatric illnesses.

Cases of diabetics also qualifying for assisted deaths have raised similar concerns. 

The concept of "dying with dignity" was also challenged by Reinl who wrote about how the assisted suicide drugs have a failure rate.

in Oregon in 2021, five MAiD patients vomited after ingesting pills, and one person passed out but later regained consciousness. 

Most people died within 30 minutes, but others took more than 100 hours to perish.

A report last year in the British Medical Bulletin found that it was not always a 'Hollywood-style peaceful and painless death,' citing the example of a Colorado cancer sufferer who took nine hours to die after much 'choking and coughing.'

Reidl reports that assisted suicide legalization bills are currently being debated in 7 states:

Sympathetic lawmakers have introduced MAiD bills this session in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Others may come to Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota and Nevada.

Further to that assisted suicide expansion bills are being debated in Hawaii, Washington state, Oregon and Vermont. Reidl explains that Oregon and Vermont have bills to remove their state assisted suicide residency requirement permitting assisted suicide nationally. Already one resident of Texas has died by assisted suicide in Oregon.

Reidl reports that Montana is debating a bill to once again prohibit assisted suicide and Virginia has already debated and defeated an assisted suicide legalization bill.

Reidl finishes his article by telling the stories of Brianna Hammon who lives with cerebral palsy, Christopher, whose dad died by assisted suicide, John Kelly who lives with quadriplegia after an accident in 1984, and Anita Cameron, whose mother rejected assisted suicide and lived another 12 years.

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