New Study Shows: Assisted Suicide may be a Poison Pill at the Polls

A recent study by Dr Jacqueline Harvey and published by the Charlotte Lozier Institute shows that support for assisted suicide may have negative consequences for politicians who support assisted suicide.

Opposition to assisted suicide has historically been bi-partisan with over 99.9%, more than 175 bills in 34 states and the District of Columbia since 1991 have been rejected or quietly ignored by lawmakers, since there was little to indicate if constituents would reward them with votes - or if they would be risking re-election by championing an issue that divides Americans virtually in half. Fortunately science may finally have some answers on how voters respond to assisted suicide at the polls. 

New research out of Tarleton State University, recently presented at the 2016 Southern Political Science Association Conference combed through all 180 of the 2014 Vermont races, as well as 2015 repeal efforts to determine if there were any risks or rewards when vying for election associated specifically with a candidate’s position for or against assisted suicide. Entitled “Assisted Suicide at the Polls: Risks & Rewards Associated with Voting to Legalize Assisted Suicide vs. Maintaining the Status Quo,” and available at the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that a candidate’s position on assisted suicide may present potential risk without reward for those in favor, or potential reward without risk for those opposed. 

Link to the full article

Important 2015 articles concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide

There were many important articles concerning euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2015. 

These are the 10 most popular articles with five more important articles from 2015.

1. June 24, EPC told the world about “Laura” a healthy 24-year-old Belgian woman who is living with suicidal ideation and was approved for euthanasia by the psychiatrist at the euthanasia clinic (Link to the article).

2. July 8 EPC launched – A Letter of Hope to Laura (Link to the article).

3. Nov 12, we learned that Laura is actually Emily, and Emily has decided to live (Link to the article).

4. Feb 6, the Supreme Court struck down Canada’s assisted suicide law. EPC explained the irresponsible and dangerous Supreme Court decision (Link to the article).

5. EPC urged its supporters to oppose the Supreme Court assisted suicide decision (Link to the article).

6. EPC then launched a letter-writing campaign to oppose the Supreme Court assisted suicide decision (Link to the article).

7. Sept 17, EPC launched a campaign urging California Governor Jerry Brown to veto the assisted suicide bill (Link to the article).

8. Aug 10, Dr Jacqueline Harvey wrote about the Subversive Strategies to Sell Assisted Suicide (Link to the article).

9. July 28, EPC urged its supporters to participate in the Federal government consultation on legislative options for assisted dying (Link to the article).

10. Feb 10, EPC had a victory at the BC Court of Appeal in the “Spoon Feeding” case (Link to the article).

More important articles.

How the assisted suicide lobby won in California

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Michael Cook wrote a very insightful article today titled: How the assisted suicide lobby won in California that was published in the online bioethics site Careful. 

Another good analysis of the assisted suicide lobby was titled: Subversive strategies to sell assisted suicide, by Dr Jacqueline Harvey.

Cook bases his analysis on information from the assisted suicide lobby group, Compassion & Choices, formerly the Hemlock society. Cook writes:

According to Barbara Coombs Lee, the head of America’s leading assisted suicide lobby group, Compassion & Choices (C&C), it was Brittany Maynard, the just-married woman who drank a lethal dose of barbiturates on November 1 last year, a few weeks short of her 30th birthday. She died in Oregon because assisted suicide was illegal in her home state of California. 
Brittany, who had an aggressive brain tumour, wanted to use her death to send a message pleading for the legalisation of assisted suicide. A C&C video about her did exactly that. On October 6 last year it was released on YouTube; on October 5 this year, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill legalising assisted suicide, a measure which had failed six times since 1988.

Defeat in America's biggest state has been a bitter pill for opponents of assisted suicide. But if you're handed a lemon, make lemonade. It’s also an opportunity to learn the lessons in propaganda which are exemplified so brilliantly in Brittany’s video. 

Link to the full article

Subverting the legislative process: How the Assisted Suicide Lobby circumvented the California Legislature, and the Consequences for the Entire Nation

By Dr Jacqueline Harvey

The media has branded ABX2-15, the bill that would legalize assisted suicide in California as Landmark legislation. Landmark legislation can serve as a catalyst for reform nationwide or it can becomes a cautionary tale. In the case of ABX2-15, my prediction is that it may be both, and the consequences will be catastrophic.

California is not the first state to legalize assisted suicide. What qualifies this bill as landmark is the influence California has on other states as a leader in policy innovation and in particular the underhanded strategy used to pass this bill.

If Governor Brown allows this tactic to prevail, California will be the first state to enable assisted suicide to pass the legislature without sufficient committee hearings, testimony and debate through misuse of a special session. Both this dangerous legislative precedent, and this dangerous legislation, is likely to spread.

If AB2X-15 is signed, this new strategy, to use the legislature against itself, would represent a significant shift in the suicide lobby’s already unethical tactics. Education on the ramifications of assisted suicide that occurs in the formal legislative process presents such an obstacle, that suicide lobbyists have changed their strategy and are now avoiding the legislature completely and they have sought the support of the uneducated voter through ballot initiatives or unethical judges who will legislate from the bench. Legislative hearings broadcast the very evidence that sabotages assisted suicide bills. The data is so damning that only one bill in over 175 has ever prevailed. Yet, for the first time, with ABX2-15, the suicide lobby did not have to circumvent the legislature to suppress education, just abuse it at a time when the process was relaxed to deal with different issues.

If signed, Governor Brown will not only be passing dangerous legislation that was not vetted, but worse, he will be validating a tactic which would encourage additional abuses of special sessions that yield more bad law. Any legislation that requires ignorance to pass is evidently flawed and the hallmark of a dangerous bill. It is not simply that legislation passed in haste and without proper scrutiny is cause for concern, although it is. The greater concern is how abusing the special session enables legislation that could not satisfy lawmakers even with ample time, debate and compromise. This would create a loophole for legislation so inherently problematic it has little hope to pass, unless it is done too quickly and superficially to truly consider the consequences.

Link to the full article

California renews push to legalize assisted suicide

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

California Governor Jerry Brown may need to veto the assisted suicide Bill AB 15.

The assisted suicide lobby has renewed their push to legalize assisted suicide in California after their previous assisted suicide bill, SB 128, was stopped in the Health Committee.

The assisted suicide lobby is taking advantage of a special legislative session that Governor Brown called to address shortfalls in healthcare funding. The new assisted suicide bill AB 15 is nearly identical to SB 128, but AB 15 will not be heard by the Health Committee.

Tim Rosales, a spokesperson for the Californians Against Assisted Suicide told the media:

"It is particularly troubling that in this rush to judgment, proponents are linking this bill with health care financing," 
"That should be truly frightening to those on MediCal and subsidized health care, who quite logically fear a system where prescribing suicide pills could be elevated to a treatment option."

Dr Jacqueline Harvey has written about how the assisted suicide lobby uses subversive strategies to sell assisted suicide

Bioethicist Wesley Smith stated on his blog:

Having lost fair and square in a California Assembly Committee, the suicide pushers have filed a new legalization bill–AB 15–for a special session intended to grapple with health care costs.

Assisted suicide advocacy is about lying. Catch this bit of mendacity from the bill: Aid-in-dying drug” means a drug determined and prescribed by a physician for a qualified individual, which the qualified individual may choose to self-administer to bring about his or her death due to a terminal disease. 
No. The death would not be from any disease, but a lethal dose of drugs.

The committee has been re-jiggered to take the “no” votes away, I am told. Can we say, stacked deck?

And the bill is on a very fast track. Can’t give people time to think or understand why assisted suicide is bad medicine and even worse public policy.

If this shameful machination works, I hope Jerry Brown remembers his service to the dying with Mother Theresa. She is definitely spinning in her grave.

California Governor Jerry Brown may need to veto Bill AB 15.

Link to the full article

Subversive Strategies to Sell Assisted Suicide

By Dr Jacqueline Harvey

Dr Jacqueline Harvey

Dr Jacqueline Harvey

The numbers don’t lie. In spite of masterful public relations campaigns to suggest otherwise, the assisted suicide movement has an abysmal record trying to legalize assisted self-destruction over the last 21 years. The suicide lobby has few victories to claim. Rather, they consistently fail at each of the strategies they employ to push their agenda. Lawmakers fail to pass assisted suicide bills 99% of the time, after lawmakers are educated of the dangers at public hearings. Ballot initiatives fail in nearly three-quarters of cases to win enough votes, even after propaganda campaigns with no public hearings. Even attempts to subvert lawmakers and voters altogether by courting judges to legislate from the bench have yielded few returns. 

Bolstered by deep pockets and a sympathetic media, we are led to believe that the assisted suicide movement is winning, when the track record shows overwhelming political failure spanning three decades. 

Nowhere is it more clear how lethal education and scientific evidence are to the suicide lobby than by examining how many assisted suicide bills withstand the scrutiny of witness testimony. Since 1994,175 bills have been introduced in 35 states and the District of Columbia and thus far, only one has prevailed. Vermont is the anomaly, the lone bill, passed in 2013 after 19 years of failed attempts to convince legislators, a success rate of .057%. Assisted suicide is an established loser with lawmakers, failing more than 99% of the time in statehouses in over 20 years. Death making does not fare well when subjected to public debate. Thus far in 2015, 25 states and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation and most bills met their demise, by either lacking support to advance, devastated by testimony and withdrawn to address concerns or simply to spare a humiliating death. A few a late-filed bills still linger after failing to launch, but are unlikely to persevere through the process or manifest as an amendment to still-viable legislation. 

A team of assisted suicide lobbyists are attempting to resurrect California’s Senate Bill SB128 through a procedural ploy that subverts the committee that rejected it and placing it on the floor for a vote, in an affront to the legislative process but in keeping with the suicide lobby’s inability to legitimately pass bills and blatant overall lack of regard for law-making and public will. They routinely circumvent lawmakers to exploit voters, and even disregard both lawmakers and voters to forcibly impose their will through the courts due to an inability to pass assisted suicide through legitimate means. Only one bill has yet prevailed at all through the legislature. A record of 1 in 175 is evidence that assisted suicide is too illegitimate an act to obtain legitimate support. 

Attempts to comfort lawmakers ill-at-ease after hearing testimony about the abuses and dangers of assisted suicide are not persuasive. Rather than address the evidence from testimony which gives lawmakers reservations, the suicide lobby have decided to create lawmakers out of the uniformed voter through ballot initiatives that do not require public hearings. Assisted suicide advocates have frequently appealed to the voters who are not informed by testimony and could be swayed by emotion and deceived by sanitized language designed to manipulate their vote.

Link to the full article

Texas bill is model legislation to prevent Death by Dehydration

By Dr Jacqueline Harvey

Dr Jacqueline Harvey and Rep. Drew Springer

Dr Jacqueline Harvey and Rep. Drew Springer

On Friday, June 12, 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott overturned 16 years of legal forced dehydration and starvation in Texas by signing House Bill 3074. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) was present for the historic moment and presented a commendation to Representative Drew Springer on his skillful passage of this landmark legislation, and EPC briefly explained the significance of this bi-partisan, unanimously-supported, model disability rights bill. HB 3074 is a critical first step in EPC’s national and worldwide efforts to restore the rights of persons with disabilities to receive nutrition and hydration (ANH). Therefore this vital win in Texas is anticipated to save lives not just within the Lone Star State but throughout the United States and even globally as EPC prepares to explore this issue with standing at the United Nations.

Under Representative Springer’s leadership, HB 3074 moved Texas from the one state to allow healthcare providers to remove food and water in any circumstance to joining five other states that explicitly protect patients in need of ANH. The Texas law was an anomaly in that it allowed the medical community authority to remove ANH in any circumstance. In contrast, five states have passed laws to ensure that food and water is not forcibly withheld by a healthcare provider to kill a patient. Now that HB 3074 is signed into law, Texas no longer ranks as the worst state for patients in need of ANH but ranks among the best. 

EPC believes that HB 3074 is model legislation. Representative Springer brokered an unprecedented compromise that cleared a 12-year stalemate on this issue. HB 3074 began in committee with opposition, but Springer was able to find language agreeable to all parties and foster unity to enable the bill to be passed in all committees and chambers of both House and Senate with no opposition. 

The universal agreement on the wording in HB 3074 across various stakeholder groups and unanimous passage from the Texas House of Representatives as well and the Texas Senate indicates broad, bi-partisan support that EPC expects to cultivate nationwide. Furthermore, EPC hopes to employ the language from HB 3074 to reform Connecticut law, the only other state that grants healthcare providers authority to starve and dehydrate patients in some circumstances (terminal illness and permanent unconsciousness). Moreover, the broad bi-partisan support and unanimous passage of HB 3074 through both chambers of the Texas Legislature indicates that this model legislation has significant promise of passage in a variety of political environments, red states and blue states alike. 

Link to the full article