Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide - Archive

End of Life News Briefs, 2010-2012

Top Attorney: Laws Against Assisted Suicide ARE Constitutional

The following is an article written by lawyer, Margaret Dore and published on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 on the Montanans Against Assisted Suicide and for Living with Dignity website.
Support for Euthanasia Drops

According to a Feb 2010 Angus Reid public opinion poll, American support for legalizing euthanasia has dropped 3 percentage points since August 2009 (from 45% to 42%), while opposition to legalization of euthanasia has increased by 4 points (from 32% to 36%).
[Angus Reid Press Release, 10Feb10; International Task Force Update, 2010, vol. 24, no. 1,]
Good Palliative Care Should Be Requested First

A new book on the history of euthanasia practice in the Netherlands reveals that former Dutch Health Minister Els Borst, who successfully pushed for the passage of the euthanasia law in 2001, now thinks it was a mistake to legalize the practice before good palliative care protocols and programs were developed in the country.

Dr. Anne-Marie Teh, a Dutch anthropologist, lawyer, and author of the book, said palliative care should always come before euthanasia is even considered.

[NRC Handelsblad, 30Nov09; International Task Force Update, 2010, vol. 24, no. 1,]
New Hampshire & French Bills Killed

The New Hampshire House of Representatives has killed an expansive bill to legalize assisted suicide. The bill, HB 304, was defeated by a full House vote of 242-113 on 13jan10. The bill was a hold-over from last year.

The committee recommended that the House reject the bill in 2010 because of serious abuse concerns. While the measure was patterned on Oregon’s assisted-suicide law, it was far more expansive in scope than its prototype.

Last November (2009) the French Parliament rejected a euthanasia bill by a vote of 326 – 202. The bill would have legalized “medical assistance to die with dignity”. [Agence France-Presse, 24Nov09; International Task Force Update, 2010, vol. 24, no. 1,]
‘Dr. Death’ Admits on CNN – Thomas Youk Was His Second, Not First Murder
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the infamous advocate of assisted suicide known as “Dr. Death” who helped kill 133 people, admitted to CNN television host Larry King that he murdered a woman before he killed Thomas Youk.

It was the latter killing that landed Kevorkian in prison for eight years. [ ; ALL Pro-Life Today | 23June 2010]
Oregon & Washington State Assisted Suicide Reports for 2009

On 3 March 2010, both Oregon and Washington State (March-Dec 09) released their assisted suicide reports for 2009. In Oregon, 57 of the 59 people who died by assisted suicide were facilitated by Compassion & Choices; 460 people have reportedly died by assisted suicide since the OR law began in 1998.

Reasons for requesting assisted suicide in Oregon: Loss of Autonomy – 57 of 59 Loss of Dignity –

54 of 59 Decreased ability to enjoy life – 51 of 59 Inadequate Pain Control – 6 of 59

NONE of the 59 people who died by assisted suicide was sent for a psychiatric evaluation even though the law requires a psychiatric evaluation when concerns exist.

Reasons for requesting assisted suicide in Washington State:
Loss of Autonomy – 36 of 36
Decreased ability to enjoy life – 33 of 36
Loss of Dignity – 30 of 36
Inadequate Pain Control – 9 of 36
Being a burden – 8 of 36
Only 3 of 63 people who received a lethal dose package were sent for a psychiatric assessment.

Physicians for Compassionate Care voiced concerns in their report entitled “More Conspiracy and Control”:
** Uncontrollable Pain is the main reason that assisted suicide is pushed to be legalized in every state. Yet only 6 of 59 in Oregon and 9 of 36 in WA State noted that pain was the problem for which they requested assisted suicide. Pain is not an actual reason in practice for assisted suicide. [In WA State, adequate pain control was the main concern for people who voted to legalize assisted suicide, and yet, in reality, just 25% of those in WA State seeking assisted suicide listed it as a concern.

** Note that none of those who died in Oregon was sent for a Psychiatric evaluation.

** There is no protection for depressed people in Oregon.

** A physician was present for 3 of 59 people at the time of ingesting the lethal overdose, and the physician was present only once at the time of death.
Without a credible witness at the time of death, how will we know what actually happened?

** Compassion & Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society) facilitated 57 of 59 deaths. This euthanasia lobby group is the author & steward of the assisted suicide law.

A 20 September 2008 editorial board comment in The Oregonian newspaper stated that “a coterie of insiders run the assisted suicide program, with a handful of doctors and others deciding what the public may know.”

At least in WA State, the majority of the people who received a lethal dose were 65 years old or older, educated, and nearly half had private health insurance. These factors are consistent with their being individuals with money. Older people with money are prime targets for elder abuse.

A recent MET LIFE study showed that elderly people with money experience higher rates of elder abuse that other people.

The feeling of being a burden is also a marker of possible elder abuse because often a person feels pressured. WA State’s Act is coercive. An heir who will benefit from the death is allowed to help “sign the person up” for a lethal dose. There is no requirement of consent at the time of death and no witness at the time of death.

After the death, the coroner is even required to treat the death as “natural” and elders abused by the Act have no recourse. [Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International Newsletter, March 2010,]