Assisted suicide is an invitation to abuse
Published on May 6th, 2015
by Kathleen M. Gallagher
Legislation to legalize physician-assisted suicide has been introduced in New York State, and organizations like Final Exit Network are all in. They say that absolutely no abuses have taken place in states where doctor-assisted suicide is legal.
How could they possibly know that? Under the law, doctors who “aid-in-dying” are required to state untruthfully on the death certificate that their patient’s cause of death was their underlying illness, and not the lethal dose of drugs they prescribed that killed them. There is absolutely no way to track abuses. This same provision is in the New York Senate proposal, by the way.
Proponents of assisted suicide are quick to say that the practice “would be regulated” once it is legalized, and that “safeguards” are included in the proposed legislation here in New York. Here are just a few safeguards that are not in the bill:
- There is no requirement for counseling for possible clinical depression causing impaired judgment. Most people considering suicide are depressed — it is a cry for help.
- There is no requirement for family notification to advise family members that their loved one is requesting a lethal dose of drugs.
- There is no requirement that witnesses to the request be adults, and one of the witnesses can be someone who stands to gain financially from the patient’s death.
- There are no safeguards at the time the patient actually ingests the lethal pills to ensure they are not being coerced or tricked, leaving many vulnerable ill, elderly and disabled patients at risk of abuse.
As a society, we should spend more time and resources promoting palliative medicine, pain management and hospice care for persons who are terminally ill, to enable them to die a natural death with dignity.
(Take action to oppose New York’s bill today.)