Threat to vulnerable lives remains, expected back again next year
ST. PAUL — Legislation to legalize assisted suicide in Minnesota failed to become law as the 2016 legislative session ended Sunday. The effort to overturn the state’s law protecting those who are elderly and infirm and persons with disabilities was strongly opposed by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL).
“Assisted suicide is abusive and dangerous, and puts many lives at risk,” said MCCL Legislative Director Andrea Rau. “Minnesotans do not support this radical legislation which would make it legal to assist others in ending their lives.”
The bill, S.F. 1880, would overturn the state’s longstanding law that prohibits people from assisting in another person’s suicide. It would even allow physicians to write prescriptions for deadly suicide drugs. Those doctors would have no responsibility once they wrote a lethal prescription.
More than 150 citizens attended a March Senate hearing to express strong opposition to the bill, and 17 physicians, disability rights advocates and persons with disabilities testified against the measure. Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, withdrew her bill before committee members could vote.
A vote would very likely have killed the bill, and no further action was taken. A companion bill in the Minnesota House of Representatives received no action.
However, Sen. Eaton pledged to bring her legislation back next year. Because similar efforts have failed in nearly two dozen states in recent years, advocates in some states have turned to filing suits. Their hope is to impose assisted suicide on unwilling constituencies, much as abortion advocates did with Roe v. Wade.
With these ongoing threats in mind, MCCL continues to make known the real dangers of legal assisted suicide and dispel misinformation about the issue. Minnesotans Against Assisted Suicide (MNAAS), an educational outreach of MCCL, is a growing statewide coalition of organizations, professionals and individuals who oppose legislation to legalize assisted suicide. The group’s website, mnaas.org, offers white papers, fact sheets, testimonials and more, all exposing the risks that legalization poses to vulnerable persons.
MCCL’s 2016 Candidate Questionnaire asks candidates to state their position on the legalization of assisted suicide. Their answers will be published in the 2016 MCCL Voter’s Guide.
“Assisted suicide puts people at risk of abuse, abandonment, coercion and more,” Rau added. “MCCL will continue to uphold the dignity of human life by opposing this threat.”