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  • The Maryland assisted suicide bill was withdrawn after the sponsor recognized that the bill was going to be defeated.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  • The New Jersey assisted suicide bill was withdrawn when the sponsor realized that the bill did not have enough support.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.

Assisted Suicide Bill Dies in New Jersey Senate

An important victory that bolsters opposition nationwide

For Immediate Release - January 12, 2016
ontact Tim Rosales at: 929-244-3297

Trenton, NJ - “The New Jersey Alliance Against Doctor-Prescribed Suicide applauds the New Jersey Senate for recognizing the dangers to older people and those with disabilities and allowing S 382, legislation to legalize assisted suicide, to die without a vote on the floor of the Senate,” stated Kate Blisard of Not Dead Yet. “People are surprised to learn that all major national disability groups that have taken a position on the issue oppose the legalization of assisted suicide because the dangers of misdiagnosis, coercion and abuse put us at great risk.”   

“A bi-partisan group of New Jersey Senators took the time to listen to the disability-rights community and to understand why it is important that doctor-prescribed suicide not become law in New Jersey,” continued Democratic Senator Peter Barnes. “It became clear that this bill would have a detrimental impact on vulnerable populations and expose them to abuse, coercion and possible denial of health care because it costs more than suicide drugs. While the bill's few, vocal supporters educated legislators as to their personal concerns, it became clear that there are other solutions than doctor-prescribed suicide to address end-of-life pain.  For that reason, there was never a groundswell of support for this bill and, on balance, we heard from many more voices opposed to this bill.”

The New Jersey Alliance exposed the following flaws in S 382:

  • No requirement of mental health evaluation or pain relief consultation.
  • Permits an heir to witness a death request. 
  • Requires no oversight on whether the patient was willing to take the lethal drugs.
  • No requirement that a medical person be present to supervise the ingestion of lethal drugs.  
  • Allows a third party familiar with how the patient communicates to make the death request.  
    • Permits lethal drugs to remain in a patient’s home without securing them. 
    • Relies on the inaccurate premise that a doctor can predict death within six months. 
    • No distinction as to whether the death prediction is with or without treatment of the patient. 
    • No required notification of family members.
    • Immunizes from prosecution anyone participating in administering lethal drugs,  even if their participation was coercive and out of self-interest 
    • Falsely certifies the cause of death.

The New Jersey Alliance Against Doctor-Prescribed Suicide is a broadly-based, diverse coalition of organizations strongly opposed to the legalization of assisted suicide. 

 

Gov Christie unlikely to sign New Jersey assisted suicide bill

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Gov. Chris Christie

Gov. Chris Christie

During his monthly appearance on New Jersey 101.5’s “Ask the Governor” show on Thursday night, Governor Christie was asked by a female caller to rethink his opposition to physician assisted suicide, NJ.com reported.

Gov. Christie replied that he will consider it, but he is unlikely to sign it into law. He said:

"I understand that these are very, very difficult issues and I promise you that I will, if there’s any legislation that comes to my desk from the Legislature, that I will look at it and carefully consider it because of how important the issue is to so many people across the state."
"But I also don’t want to mislead you," the governor said. "I have real concerns about this and it goes in line with my general philosophy, which is whether we’re talking about a drug-addicted teenager, whether we’re talking about homeless adults, whether we’re talking about someone suffering from mental illness, or someone suffering from physical illness, all life is precious and is a gift from God, and no life is disposable. That belief of mine. . .informs my policies in a lot of deferent ways, and always has."

Link to the full article

Rabbi Testifies Against Assisted Suicide Bill to New Jersey Senate Health Committee

This article was published on December 17 by The Yeshiva World News.

Rabbi Avi Schnall

Rabbi Avi Schnall

The “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” passed the State Assembly with 41 votes – the minimum needed – last month, and is now up for a full vote on the Senate floor. In the event that it passes the Senate, the decision would fall to Governor Chris Christie on whether to sign or veto the bill.

Sign the petition urging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to veto the assisted suicide bill.

On Monday, Rabbi Avi Schnall, New Jersey Director of Agudath Israel of America, expressed Torah Jewry’s vehement opposition to the proposed law to the Senate Health Committee members. Rabbi Schnall told the Committee of Agudath Israel’s long history of representing Torah observant Jews in America – and why this battle is particularly important: “Informed by classical Jewish tradition which teaches that all human life is sacred, and possessed of the firm view that laws that undermine the sanctity of human life send a message that is profoundly dangerous for all of society, Agudath Israel’s interest in the issue of legalizing suicide is especially keen.”

Link to the full article

John Kelly Reports on New Jersey Senate Committee Assisted Suicide Bill Hearing

This article was originally published on the Not Dead Yet blog.

By John Kelly, New England coordinator - disability rights group Not Dead Yet.

John Kelly

John Kelly

The New Jersey state Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee passed its assisted suicide bill, S382, out of committee on December 15th. Senate President and co-sponsor Steve Sweeney initially said that a full Senate vote would be held on Thursday, the last scheduled full session of the year, but later indicated that the vote would not be called this week. Susan K. Livio of NJ.com reported that “Sweeney said he and other supporters would embark on an ‘educational campaign’ to discuss the matter with colleagues.”

As Dustin Racioppi wrote at NorthJersey.com:

"It isn’t known if it has the 21 votes to clear the Senate, though Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, has come out in support of the bill. In a statement, he said he believes there “needs to be an honest discussion about this option.”

Speculation is that Sweeney plans to twist some arms – as he may have done in the committee itself – in order to pass a bill and score points against Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who has pledged to veto it.

Link to the full article

New Jersey Senate will vote on assisted suicide bill on Thursday

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The New Jersey assisted suicide bill narrowly passed (4 - 3) in the Senate Health Services and Senior Citizens Committee yesterday after hearing four hours of testimony on the bill.

Contact the New Jersey Senators and tell them to reject assisted suicide bill 382. It is not safe.

Assisted Suicide Bill 382 will likely go to a vote in the New Jersey Senate on Thursday. If the Senate passes the bill, Governer Chris Christie will need to veto the bill

Sign the petition urging New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to veto the assisted suicide bill.

Link to the full article

Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) Condemns Exclusion of Disabled People at NJ Hearing on Assisted Suicide Bill

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network  (ASAN) has issued a statement condemning the exclusion of disabled people from testifying at yesterday’s (Dec.7) hearing on a proposed assisted suicide bill in front of the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee:

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is deeply concerned about the omission of disabled people and representatives from disability rights organizations at yesterday’s hearing. Given that more than half of the groups in the New Jersey coalition opposing the bill are disability rights organizations and centers for independent living, it is unconscionable that the committee deliberately excluded witnesses from the disability community. Even after our community submitted a formal request for inclusion among the witnesses, the committee declined to invite a disability community representative.

Read the entire statement here.