by Lisa Hudson
It was bound to happen. Abortion supporters have made babies fair game for nearly half of a century — the original disposal of the unwanted, the burdensome, the parasite, the financial headache. For the last 46 years, the rights of the unborn have been whittled away, until, as we’ve seen recently, the most heinous expansion since Roe v. Wade became law.
It’s not surprising, then, to see the concept of the unwanted, the burdensome, and the financially draining expanded to another of our most vulnerable populations: the elderly and the infirm. Just as abortion supporters have championed a mother’s right to choose death for her unborn baby, the tide is rising to legislate “death with dignity” for those who want to control their own demise. It’s a pleasant sounding moniker for a rather unpalatable act.
This legislative session has been a blizzard of these so-called “death with dignity” bills — legislation having been introduced in 13 states.
In Maryland, where the death penalty was abolished in 2013, state legislators in the House of Delegates filed the End-of-Life Option Act (a companion bill was filed in the Senate). The bill is referred to as the “Richard E. Israel and Roger ‘Pip’ Moyer Act.” Moyer was the former Mayor of Annapolis, Md., who passed away in 2015, after a two-decade battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Israel was a former Maryland Assistant Attorney General who also passed away in 2015, due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease.
The bill was originally introduced in 2015 but wasn’t put up for a vote. It was similarly introduced and withdrawn again in 2016 and 2017. As the moral and ethical temperature of the U.S. has continued to drop precipitously, assisted suicide supporters hope the fourth time’s the charm. The House bill passed by a vote of 77-66 earlier this month and was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. However, the bill was delayed as the Committee considered several amendments. Last Friday, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 7-3 to advance the bill with amendments assisted suicide advocates referred to as “troubling.”
Kim Callinan, CEO of Compassion & Choices, a grassroots campaign leading the charge to pass the bill (and others around the country) stated, “The bill in its current form would create many needless hoops and roadblocks for dying patients and put doctors at risk for baseless lawsuits against them for helping dying patients relieve intolerable suffering.”
One of the amendments would strip the bill of civil immunity for doctors, patients, family members, and witnesses. Perhaps more reasonable minds will prevail? Possibly on a state-by-state basis, but not likely.
Montana legislators introduced a bill that would overturn a 2009 Montana Supreme Court decision that held, under Montana law, “…no indication…that physician aid in dying provided to terminally ill, mentally competent adult patients is against public policy.” As of this writing, the bill is being held in committee pending a vote.
In Nevada, the Death with Dignity Act passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee by a vote of 3-2, advancing to the Senate floor. The bill would allow “mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or fewer to live the option to request and receive a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take to die peacefully if their suffering becomes unbearable.”
A bill referred to as the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act passed the New Jersey state legislature earlier this week and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy. The bill declares the act is “…in the public interest and is necessary for the welfare of the State and its residents.”
One of the most radical bills arose in New Mexico and would have allowed non-doctors to prescribe the necessary medication to effectuate death. It also rather loosely defined “terminal illness,” failing to designate a particular time period in which death might be expected, and opting for a more vague concept of death within “the foreseeable future.” The bill also allowed a consulting medical provider to examine the patient via telemedicine, rather than a physical examination, no waiting period, protection from liability for a misdiagnosis as long as the physician acted in good faith, mandatory referral to a doctor who is willing to fulfill the patient’s request if the primary doctor refuses to participate, and would obligate a physician to inform a terminally ill patient about his/her right to assisted suicide as a part of available treatment options.
All of the bills in question provide immunity to participants involved in or present at the assisted suicide. However, the New Mexico bill takes immunity and runs with it, exemplifying all that can and will grow radically out of control in the hands of liberal legislatures.
Regarding the proposed New Mexico legislation: “The assisted suicide movement is akin to a death cult. The ultimate ideological point isn’t to provide a last resort escape for the imminently dying, but to enable more people to die more quickly. That is why the ‘protective guidelines’ constantly expand — sometimes, as here, even before legalization. Everything else is subterfuge.”
We’ve come a long way since 1990, when the original doctor of death, Jack Kevorkian, attached Janet Atkins to his homemade euthanasia device in the back of his VW van. But, what we’re seeing now has to make us wonder: we’ve come a long way, but is it the right way?