Monday, April 22, 2024

A call to defeat New Hampshire assisted suicide House Bill 1283 "An Act relative to end of life options"

Gordon Friesen
By Gordon Friesen
President: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition 

It is a widely shared principle that, as long as our actions cause no harm to others, we might all be allowed to do as we please.

And so it is that many principled people --and even many who are personally repulsed by the idea of assisted death-- feel a visceral duty to support the "right" of others to choose the manner of their own passing. Unfortunately, however, HB 1283 would not merely create a liberty of permission for this purpose. Indeed far from it.

At the heart of HB-1283[i] lies, first, the concept of "medical assistance in dying" (even though majority patient trust has traditionally been founded on the Hippocratic Physician's promise not to kill); and second, the associated legislative assertion that MAID is not suicide (even though it plainly involves people deliberately taking poison to end their lives). Together, these extraordinary definitions herald a radical conceptual transformation of assisted death --from forbidden medical homicide to legitimate medical treatment-- and therein lies the special significance of Bills like HB 1283.

For medical care is universally seen as a positive benefit and a human right. To legally define assisted death in this way is thus to necessarily create entitlements, obligations and mandates whose implementation is entirely foreign to any fundamental notion of free choice.[ii]

Moreover, if we look to our Northern neighbour, we can already see exactly how such a medically justified regime of assisted death is destined to unfold. For since the first appearance of the term "MAID" in Canadian legislation (Province of Quebec, 2014)[iii] legal statutes and regulations have been enacted which require the performance of euthanasia in all institutions; by all medical professionals (with limited conscience-based exceptions only); and the proactive mandatory discussion of MAID with all eligible patients. Indeed, Canadian hospitals, and care teams have normalized euthanasia, to such an extent, that the vast non-suicidal majority of eligible patients are now obliged to navigate a clinical environment which has become objectively indifferent (if not hostile) to their continued survival.[iv]

Very obviously, no coherent system of individual liberty might ever have produced such a result. Quite the contrary: the simplest and most direct explanation of Canadian euthanasia lies, not in personal choice at all, but in the utilitarian budgetary advantage --to the State-- of systematically purging expensive and dependent persons from the public role.

Most certainly, also, a principled defence of death-by-choice does not require liberty-minded citizens to espouse this extreme theory of death-as-care. Both Switzerland[v] and Germany[vi], for example, recognize a general right to suicide (including assisted suicide) but explicitly refuse to accord such actions any objective validation (medical or otherwise), precisely in order to avoid the disastrous effects of entitlements, mandates and obligations as described above.[vii]

In conclusion, therefore: Although I am personally opposed to any assisted death whatsoever, I also recognize that a sincere philosophy of "live-and-let-live" may indeed inspire principled support for death-by-choice. But not with just any Bill. And certainly not with this one.

In the end, we must decide whether New Hampshire’s medical industry will be structured to prioritize typical patient satisfaction, or that of a small suicidal minority. And above all: whether the radical new paradigm of utilitarian death-medicine now seen in Canada --and so clearly echoed in HB-1283-- will be allowed to high-jack the freedom agenda entirely.

With the greatest respect, I request the defeat of this legislation.

Gordon Friesen, President, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


[i] "An act relative to end of life options" New Hampshire HB1283, 2024 (Link to Bill).

[ii] Constitution of the World Health Organization (1946) as amended (2005) accessed April 17, 2024 (Article Link) accessed April 17, 2024

[iii] "Act Respecting End-of-Life Care" Province of Quebec, Canada, 2014, as revised 2024 (Link to Legislation) accessed April 17, 2024

[iv] Lessons from the Canadian Euthanasia Experiment, G. R. Friesen, April 4, 2023 (Link to article) accessed April 17, 2024

[v] Swiss criminal code art. 115 (Link to Swiss Criminal Code) accessed Nov 4, 2023

[vi] German High Court decision February 26, 2020 (Article Link) accessed Oct 28, 2023

[vii] Fundamental Considerations in the Creation of a Minimally Intrusive Liberty of Assisted Death (produced for the Irish Joint Committee on Assisted Dying), G.R. Friesen, November 12, 2023, (Article Link) accessed April 17, 2024.


Paul. Beaubien said...

Very well spoken
Your words and wording express clearly the eternal essence of what is called euthanasia; How difficult it is to see the culture of death the apathy of a country brings into being by the sins of omission,,who is then surprised to find a sin of commission in its heart

gordon friesen said...

Quite right Paul ! People in Canada thought they were signing on to a "sin of omission", (being a mere absence of criminalization) and were served with a "sin of commission", which is the positive implementation of euthanasia as care on an equal footing to insulin or dialysis.

It is like the old Soviet joke: Anything not forbidden is compulsory! (and the inverse).

At the other extreme, I understand the libertarian position, but if you allow things to rot in a corner, sooner or later, you are going to have a problem with the stench.

Best Regards,