SB 311 Physician Assisted Suicide
On Tuesday February 19, 2019, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard Testimony on Senate Bill 311 - Physician Assisted Suicide.
A testimony for the bill was given by a pharmacist who outlined how “easy” it was to implement this decision, even if the person who is committing suicide is incapacitated.
He said that after getting the fifty or so pills needed for the act, all the person who is aiding the victim has to do is go into a nearby kitchen, open the pills and empty them one by one into a glass, then add liquid, making a slurry. He humanely added that it would be useful for the victim to have taken anti-nausea pills prior to drinking the slurry to guarantee that the poison would not be expelled before it could do its work.
One question: Does this mean that only a physician can assist in the suicide, or can it also be a family or friend-assisted suicide too?
Another question: Is the death certificate signed by the assisting physician and state assisted suicide as cause of death?
A testimony against Physician Assisted Suicide was given by a woman who had traveled to Annapolis from Oregon. In that state, she had witnessed many cases where people were persuaded by others to go ahead with a suicidal request, even after repeatedly rejecting the idea. One instance she mentioned was a man who had constantly said he did not want to die by suicide, but one day when his son came to visit him, he was told that his father had died the night before, after accepting an invitation to a suicide party.
It is one thing not to use extraordinary methods to keep someone alive. It is another to allow one person to “help” another person end his/her life because they were told they only have 6 months to live. Who can predict when a person will die? How many times do people live beyond a medically predicted average time to live? The parents of another woman testifying at the hearing were told she only had a few months to live, yet there she was testifying against Physician Assisted Suicide 35 years later.
I can think of so many instances where Assisted Suicide can be abused, where someone could be coerced to end their life earlier by another person, anxious to receive an inheritance, or who wants to rid themselves of an unwanted obligation.
I do not think any bill can cover every circumstance, nor can it protect against all ideas to circumvent restrictions. What if someone does not have the mental capacity to make decisions? What if someone is slipped a drug to cloud the mind before signing the papers to end their life? And once the paper is signed accepting suicide, who can tell what actually happened? Once someone is dead, who can say there was coercion?
There is no ID required for pickup of these drugs, which taken in lesser quantities lead to addiction. What if a person changes their mind after pickup? There is no drug take-back plan. These are lethal addictive drugs and thousands of those pills go unused in Oregon. They can easily get into the underground drug market
I believe Assisted Suicide is another term for Assisted Murder and it sets us high on a slippery slope leading to other uses of sympathetic murder and mercy killing… How about getting rid of persons beyond a certain age, or when a person becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to function efficiently or is mentally challenged? These things have happened in repressive regimes. With Physician Assisted Suicide, we open minds to accept assisted murder and take a step in the direction of further repression in the future. No matter what the outcome of this particular bill, I am fearful of a society that entertains suicide parties and allows one person to serve a suicide slurry to another.
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