Editor’s note. The following comes from New York State Right to Life, NRLC’s state affiliate. Following the Action Alert we’ve reposted NY State RTL’s official statement of opposition.
Assisted suicide remains a dire threat in the New York State Legislature. Multiple bills in the Assembly and Senate take on this deadly issue, seeking to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide in New York State. See below for more information on these bills and the specific dangers they bring.
Call your representatives TODAY to express your opposition to these bills!
You can find your Senator through the Senate switchboard at 518.455.2800.
New York State Right to Life opposes any efforts to remove protections for vulnerable patients facing a terminal diagnosis. Individuals facing end-of-life decisions must have support and care, and we continue to work for their protection against the legalization of doctor-prescribed suicide.
2015 Statement of Opposition to “Patient Self-Determination Act” Bonacic (S. 5814)/Paulin(A. 5261-B)
New York has been in the crosshairs of “Compassion and Choices” (formerly ‘The Hemlock Society’), as advocates of doctor-prescribed suicide use offensive terms such as “dignity” to define the act of a doctor prescribing deadly pills to a vulnerable and hurting patient. A doctor’s number one priority must be to save and support the life of his/her patient. Society suffers when doctors choose who should and should not be saved. An individual seeking suicide is in need of care and support. In all other instances, an attempt at suicide is recognized as the cry for help that it is. Patients facing daunting diagnoses should be treated no differently than other patients in need of help. They should be given appropriate care, not drugs to end their life.
Doctor-prescribed suicide targets vulnerable patients
Despite death advocates painting a picture of patients in unbearable pain, the reality is that data out of Oregon has shown that pain, or fear of future pain does not rank in the top five reasons that a suicide patient lists as to why they are asking their doctor to prescribe them deadly drugs. Vulnerable patients facing a challenging diagnosis feel, or fear feeling, that they are a burden on friends and family. In states with legal doctor-killing, patients feel a duty to relieve their family of the need to care for them.
Patients suffering from mental illness, those with disabilities, and seniors at-risk for elder abuse may feel pressured by society, medical workers, their family, and their own fear, into taking their own lives. Those who are depressed or sick require support, not validation from their doctor and society at-large that their lives are not worth living.
Doctor-prescribed suicide doesn’t require a waiting period
There is not even require a waiting period for a patient requesting doctor-prescribed death. Patients feeling depressed, overwhelmed, or facing familial pressure would have no extra time to consider their options, turning physician’s offices into a one-stop death shop.
Doctor-prescribed suicide doesn’t allow for a diagnosis of depression
A doctor need not refer an ill and vulnerable patient for counseling prior to prescribing deadly pills. There is no requirement that a patient – who is asking their physician to give them drugs to kill themselves- see a licensed psychologist to determine if there is depression or other issues that might alter their judgement. In Oregon’s 10th year of legal killing, not a single patient was referred for counseling. Even if a patient were to be referred to a psychologist, which is a rare occurrence based on the data from Oregon, a diagnosis of depression or mental illness would not necessarily preclude the prescription of deadly drugs if the psychologist determines a patient can still make decisions.
Doctor-prescribed suicide is impossible to contain
Once the deadly pills have been given to hurting individual, it is up to them to take it home and take it when they wish. There is no way to contain these pills once it leaves the hands of the pharmacist and there is no guarantee that another member of the household may take it, or, should the vulnerable patient decide not to take it immediately,