Monday, March 25, 2024

Message to Scotland: Don't buy into McArthur's "bait and switch" assisted suicide bill

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I was recently speaking to MSP's in Scotland about the upcoming assisted suicide bill sponsored by Liam McArthur (LibDem MSP). 

During several meetings many of the MSP's suggested that McArthur was promising a "heavier safeguarded" model than previous euthanasia bills that were debated in Scotland. 

My response was that it didn't matter how "heavily safeguarded" the bill is because the goal of the euthanasia lobby is to get the bill passed and expand it later.

McArthur was interviewed on March 24 by BBC Scotland on The Sunday Show where McArthur explained that the new bill will be released on Thursday March 28. McArthur stated the following about the proposed bill:

"I detect a real shift in the political mood, driven in a large part by witnessing countries and states across the world introducing heavily safeguarded provisions of the kind I'm looking to introduce here in Scotland."

He said his proposals would require diagnosis of a terminal illness by two separate doctors and a 14-day cooling off period after which a medical substance could be supplied, to be self-administered.

The reality is that McArthur is describing a bill that is similar to the original Oregon assisted suicide law, a law that was expanded in 2019 and further expanded in 2023.

McArthur stated that the mood in Scotland has shifted based on "heavily safeguarded provisions" but the provisions that he is referring to do not remain in the Oregon or other assisted suicide law provisions in the United States.

While in Scotland several of the MSP's told me that McArthur had invited them to go to California on a "fact finding" trip. California is the prime example of a state that has expanded its law since legalization. 

Recently Senator Blakespear in California introduced Bill SB 1196 an assisted suicide bill that would change the law to specifically allow utilization of the lethal poison by IV (intravenous). (my article on SB 1196)

In 2016 California legalized assisted suicide. California expanded the law in 2021 when it passed Bill SB 380. SB 380 reduced the waiting period from 15 days to 48 hours, it eliminated the final attestation, and it forced doctors who oppose assisted suicide to participate.

In September, 2022, U.S. District Judge Fernando Aenlle-Rocha ruled that California Senate Bill 380, which amended the End of Life Option Act (assisted suicide law) in California, violated the First Amendment rights of doctors by requiring them to participate in assisted suicide. Aenlle-Rocha granted a preliminary injunction barring the state from compelling health care providers to document a patient’s request for assisted suicide. (my article on the decision).

In other words, McArthur is basing his "heavily safeguarded provisions" on an American law that originally contained those provisions but has been expanded and it may be expanded again this year.

Recently I published an article titled The assisted suicide lobby wants to legalize assisted suicide and expand it later

In that article I explain that the assisted suicide lobby claim that no legislative creep exists. Yet in the past few years existing assisted suicide laws have been expanded in nearly every state that has legalized assisted suicide by: reducing or eliminating waiting periods, allowing non-doctors to participate in assisted suicide, allowing assisted suicide approvals by Telehealth, expanding the meaning of terminal illness and removing the state residency requirement.

Assisted suicide law expansion bills have been passed in California (2021), Hawai'i (2023), Oregon (2019, 2023), Vermont (2022, 2023) and Washington State (2023). There are several assisted suicide expansion bills being debated in 2024.

For instance, Colorado assisted suicide expansion Bill SB 068 would expand the assisted suicide law by: permitting non-physicians to prescribe the lethal poison, reduces the waiting period from 15 days to 48 hours and it allows the 48 hour waiting period to be waived.

In January Josh Elliott, a three-term member of the Connecticut House, and a sponsor of previous assisted suicide bills was interviewed by Paul Bass for the New Haven Independent on January 4, 2024. Bass reported Elliott as wanting to get a "heavily safeguarded" assisted suicide bill passed and then make amendments later. Since Elliott admitted to his "bait and switch" tactic, 2024 was the first year in the past eleven where no assisted suicide bill was introduced in Connecticut.

J.M. Sorrell, Executive Director of Massachusetts Death with Dignity, was quoted on a similar bill as saying,

“Once you get something passed, you can always work on amendments later.”

My message to Scotland's MSP's is don't buy into McArthur's "bait and switch" assisted suicide bill. 

McArthur realizes that the majority of the MSP's will not support a Canadian style euthanasia bille ha. He has decided to first legalize an Oregon style bill and then expand it later. The reality is, even the American assisted suicide bills have already been expanded

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