Declare Total Non-Cooperation With Assisted Suicide

The article was published by First Things on April 29, 2016.

By Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

I recently gave a speech to a group of conservative senior citizens in California, arguing against assisted suicide, which is due to become legal there in June. Assisted suicide is not an issue that allows for fence-sitting, so although I expected (and received) a friendly reception for the most part, I knew that at least a few people would use the Q & A to tell me that I was full of beans.

Sure enough. “You have made a cogent and reasoned presentation, Mr. Smith,” one of the first questioners told me, his voice rising in anger as he spoke. “But if I want to die, I want to be able to die, and I don’t want my family or me stigmatized by people saying I committed suicide!” In other words, nothing that I said mattered. The man was set in his opinion, and neither the facts about euthanasia practice nor the need for accurate terminology regarding self-killing would change that.

And so it went. Those who agreed with me—the majority of this particular audience—spoke of how their vulnerable loved ones would be endangered by the law, while the law’s supporters mostly made angry assertions about their right to die. Dialogue? What’s dialogue?

Link to the full article

Assisted suicide ballot measure introduced in Colorado. We must protect people from assisted suicide

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Recently I wrote an article about the successes in defeating assisted suicide bills in America. Since publisheding the article the Minnesota assisted suicide bill was stopped when its sponsor "pulled the bill" due to insufficient support.

Considering the success in defeating bills that give doctors the right to prescribe suicide to their patients, the suicide lobby has been relentless in pushing their death ideology.

For instance, this year in Colorado, a Senate Committee defeated the assisted suicide bill on February 3, on February 4, then the House Judiciary Committee passed the assisted suicide bill (6 - 5) and on February 24, the sponsors "pulled the bill" because it lacked support.

Now the suicide lobby has introduced a Colorado ballot measure titled: "End of Life Options" for the November 2016 election. The suicide lobby will require almost 99,000 signatures to have this dangerous measure put on the ballot.

At the same time, the sponsor of the California assisted suicide bill, which does not become law until June 9, have introduced two bills to promote assisted suicide in California. The first bill would establish a toll free death line, while the second bill would require the state health plan to pay for assisted suicide.

Assisted suicide bills in New York and the District of Columbia remain as clear threats. While I whole heartedly thank the many concerned people who stopped the suicide lobby in their states, I recognize that we will need to be as relentless as the suicide lobby. 

Even though the suicide lobby were defeated in Colorado, they are now bi-passing the legislative process with a ballot measure. 

We need to be vocal about the dangers of assisted suicide and how giving doctors the right to prescribe suicide to their patients devalues the lives of people at a vulnerable time of their life.

We must protect people from assisted suicide, the future of our culture depends on it.

Assisted Suicide bills are being defeated in America

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In 2016, assisted suicide bills initiatives have already been defeated in Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey and Utah. There have been several groups that have been effectively working to defeat these bills, including state groups opposing assisted suicide, medical associations, local and national disability rights groups including Not Dead Yet and DREDF and groups such as the Patients Rights Action Fund. 

Many caring people gave testimony before State legislative committees concerning the dangers of legalizing assisted suicide.

According to the Patients Rights Action Fund:

  • The Arizona assisted suicide bill was defeated in the Senate's Health and Human Services Committee.
  • The Colorado assisted suicide bill failed in the Senate Committee and the Colorado Assembly didn't take up the bill because it lacked support. Also the Colorado Title Board decided not to advance a ballot measure that to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.
  • The Hawaii assisted suicide bill was not heard by the Senate committee.
  • The Iowa assisted suicide bill was stopped in the Senate sub-committee.
  • The Maryland assisted suicide bill was withdrawn after the sponsor recognized that the bill was going to be defeated.
  • The Nebraska assisted suicide bill was defeated after a tie vote in Committee.
  • The New Jersey assisted suicide bill was withdrawn when the sponsor realized that the bill did not have enough support.
  • The Utah assisted suicide bill was sent back to the rules committee.

The assisted suicide bills in New York and the District of Columbia are the remaining threats.

The California legislator passed the assisted suicide bill by subverting the legislative process in a 'Special Extraordinary Session.' Since the Extraordinary Session has not closed, therefore the California assisted suicide bill is not in effect. Further to that, based on California law, the assisted suicide law will go into effect 90 days after the closing of the Extraordinary Session. Therefore assisted suicide is not currently legal in California.

Colorado assisted suicide bill should be defeated

Jennifer Ballentine

Jennifer Ballentine

This article was written by Jennifer Ballentine and published in the Denver Post on Feb 13, 2016. Jennifer Ballentine is vice president of Hospice Analytics in Colorado Springs.

Colorado's legislators should be commended for hearing many hours of open testimony on the controversial End-of-Life Options Act (House Bill 1054), which would legalize physician-assisted death. At the end of the second hearing earlier this month, amendments were adopted to address concerns.

After all the wordsmithing and window-dressing, however, the amended bill still does not address the biggest problem of all, one that should worry both supporters and opponents of physician-assisted death.

In a nutshell: Although the bill lays out specific eligibility requirements and a detailed process by which people may request and receive life-ending drugs, the bill completely lacks any requirement for documentation, oversight, or enforcement.

Quite simply, all the so-called "safeguards" in the bill are a fairy tale.

Without documentation, processes can be sidestepped or skipped altogether. Without enforcement, protection is meaningless. Without reporting, no one can know whether the law has been used appropriately, misused, or even abused.

This is a significant change from last year's bill and a complete break with other enacted laws governing physician-assisted death.

In other legislation and laws, the doctor must document the process in the patient's medical record.

Not in this year's bill.

Link to the full article

Dana Palmer: Against Colorado's assisted suicide bill

This article was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette on February 3, 2016.

Dana Palmer

Dana Palmer

My name is Dana Palmer. In 2005, I was diagnosed with Glioblastoma-terminal brain cancer. My prognosis was only 3-12 months. Shortly after my diagnosis, my doctor received a form asking, "When will the patient recover sufficiently?" He drew a horizontal line through it, and wrote never!

My experience is similar to that of thousands of Coloradans who every year face terminal diagnoses and the stigma that they don't have a chance to live, and may be better off dead!

Assisted suicide only worsens this stigma.

After surviving my terminal prognosis for 10 years, I heard the story of the young California woman named Brittany Maynard who faced the same disease I did, and at the exact same age. She took her cancer story public, and it was used to headline a national effort to "normalize" assisted suicide. Immediately, she and other assisted suicide supporters sent a message to patients across the country: Assisted suicide is for you" and "There is no reason for hope." This is a very dangerous message for current and future patients!

Assisted suicide supporters call it a "choice," but to people facing a diagnosis like mine it can be interpreted as an obligation since many patients already feel like a burden. At any time after a terminal diagnosis emotions can run wild, and minds often change daily regarding treatment and care. But assisted suicide is final, it's an action that can't be undone. It can leave doctors and loved ones with regrets.

Link to the full article

Colorado Assisted Suicide Bills Recipe for Elder Abuse

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY3, 2016

Margaret Dore

Margaret Dore

Dore: "Even if you like the concept of assisted suicide and euthanasia, the proposed Colorado bills have it all wrong.”

Contact: Margaret Dore (206) 697-1217

Denver, CO  --  Attorney Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, which has fought assisted suicide legalization efforts in many states and now Colorado, made the following statement in connection with legislative hearings being held today and tomorrow on bills seeking to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in that state.  

"The bills, SB 16-025 and HB 16-1054, seek to legalize physician-assisted suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined," said Dore. "The bills are described as 'aid in dying,' but their reach is not limited to dying people. 'Eligible' persons may have years, even decades, to live."

Dore said, "The bills are a recipe for elder abuse. The patient's heir, who will financially benefit from the patient's death, is allowed to actively participate in signing the patient up for the lethal dose. There is no oversight over administration."  Dore elaborated, "No doctor, not even a witness, is required to be present at the death. Even if the patient struggled, who would know? The bills create the perfect crime."  

"It gets worse," said Dore. "The bills require the death certificate to be falsified to reflect a death by a terminal illness.  The significance is a loss of transparency as to the true cause of death and an inability to prosecute in the case of an outright murder for the money; the death, as a matter of law is a terminal illness."   

The Colorado bills seek to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia for people who are "terminal," which is defined as a doctor’s prediction of less than six months to live. In real life, such persons can have years, even decades, to live.

Link to the full release

Poll Shows Little Support for Assisted Suicide and Major Concerns

Link to the PR Newswire media release on April 16, 2015.

As assisted suicide failed to pass in state legislatures across the country this year, a new Marist Poll sponsored by the Knights of Columbus found that a majority of Americans do not support assisted suicide and that strong majorities harbor deep concerns over such proposals.

Assisted suicide proposals have stalled since the start of the year in a number of states, including Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado and Nevada.

More than 6 in 10 Americans (61 percent) do not support a doctor prescribing or administering a lethal drug dose, saying that a doctor should instead only manage an illness or remove life support.

Additionally, 57 percent of Americans say they are less likely to trust a doctor who engages in assisted suicide.

Strong majorities of Americans also have deep concerns about assisted suicide, including:

  • 67 percent concerned that fewer life-saving options will be given at end of life.
  • 65 percent concerned that the elderly will be at risk in nursing homes.
  • 64 percent concerned that the depressed will be more likely to take their lives.
  • 59 percent concerned about a wrong diagnosis.
  • 55 percent concerned that the doctor could misjudge a patient's state of mind.
  • 55 percent concerned that it will become a cost-saving measure for health care decisions.
  • 54 percent concerned that patients will be pressured to take their life so as not to be a burden.

Between 4 in 10 and 6 in 10 of those who support assisted suicide also share each of these concerns.

Link to the full article