By Nancy Elliott, Chair – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) USA
The New Hampshire House of Representatives recently defeated SB426, a bill to study Assisted Suicide Euthanasia. It was a surprising defeat.
EPC USA had worked closely with advocates in New Hampshire since the bill was first filed in the Senate. EPC USA and our allies educated the public and legislators on the dangers of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, including discrimination against the disabled, elderly, and ill who are encouraged to commit suicide while the young and healthy get suicide prevention.
The bill’s proponents had called for a Commission to Study End of Life Options, particularly “Aid in Dying.” But bill sponsor Senator Kelly admitted at the Senate hearing that the real target was Assisted Suicide.
Not only, then, was this commission clearly a showcase for Assisted Suicide, the proposed commissioners were loaded with activists likely to support this radical measure. While the commission claimed it would listen to stakeholders, people who would be affected by the proposed legislation, the commission would not even have had a single representative from a disability community group or seniors group. These are the two communities in the crosshairs of this type of legislation.
Nonetheless, the bill had come out of the Judiciary Committee with the recommendation of “Ought to Pass with Amendment.”
In the House Judiciary Committee hearing, John Kelly, regional director of disability community group Not Dead Yet, advocated for the rights of the disabled and elderly.
Dr. Richard Johnson of New Hampshire and Dr. Paul Saba of Physicians for Social Justice, based in Montreal, testified that doctors make mistakes, and with treatment many of these people could live for years to come.
EPC USA’s coalition members worked in the Senate and the House to educate legislators on the dangers of SB426. And at the last minute, NH House members secured enough votes to soundly reject this idea on the House floor.
Passing this bill would not have implemented Assisted Suicide or Euthanasia, but it would have put us closer to it. And even the unbalanced commission would have created some appearance of legitimacy for any bill they pushed, no matter how radical.
This is a great win for our New Hampshire advocates, EPC USA, and the citizens of New Hampshire.
Editor’s note. This appeared on the webpage of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.