Frustrated with the lies told during the New Mexico assisted suicide HB 47 legislative hearings

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Saturday was the second time that I presented (by zoom) before a New Mexico legislative committee hearing concerning HB 47, the bill to legalize assisted suicide.

My concern with the legislative committee hearing was not the one minute given to every witness. Not much can be said in one minute but one minute applied to every witness.

My frustration related to the lies told by the three “expert” witnesses, who each received at least 5 minutes to comment on the bill.

1. The “expert” witnesses claimed that HB 47 is one of the tightest assisted suicide bills anywhere.

Reality: HB 47 is the widest assisted suicide bill being considered in America.

All current assisted suicide laws require physicians to approve and prescribe lethal drugs. HB 47 allows non-physicians defined as “health care providers” which includes physicians, or licensed physician assistants, or osteopathic physicians, or nurses registered in advanced practice to approve or prescribe lethal drugs.

All current assisted suicide laws require a psychologist or psychiatrist to counsel a person, when a “health care provider” questions the ability of a person to consent. HB 47 by defines counselors as: state-licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, master social worker, psychiatric nurse practitioner or professional clinical mental health counselor.

Unlike existing assisted suicide legislation, HB 47 does not require the customary 15 day waiting period but only requires a 48 hour waiting period that can be waived if the health care provider believes that the person may be imminently dying. Therefore HB 47 technically allows a same day death. A person could request assisted suicide on a “bad day” and die the same day. Studies prove that the “will to live” fluctuates.

HB 47 Section 3 (G) waives the requirement that a person’s condition be confirmed by a second health care provider if the person requesting assisted suicide is enrolled in a hospice program. This is the only assisted suicide bill that waives the requirement that a second health care provider assess the requester.

2. They claimed that HB 47 has iron clad conscience protections for health care providers.

Reality: HB 47 tramples on conscience rights.

HB 47 states that health care providers who are unwilling to carry out a request for assisted suicide shall inform the individual and refer the individual to a health care provider who is able and willing to carry out the individual’s request or to another individual or entity to assist the requesting individual in seeking medical aid in dying.

Therefore a conscientious objector must participate in the act by referring the patient for assisted suicide to a health care provider who is willing to prescribe lethal drugs.

Remember, in 2019 New Mexico state Rep. Deborah Armstrong’s sponsored assisted suicide bill, HB 90, which was the most extreme assisted suicide bill that I had seen in America. Among other concerns, HB 90 allowed assisted suicide for psychiatric conditions, to be done to someone with an undefined “terminal prognosis,” to be done by nurses and physician assistants, and it even allowed it to be approved via telemedicine.

Deborah Armstrong wants to legalize assisted suicide to make it an option for her daughter who is battling cancer. I understand their fear of a bad death. But giving doctors the right in law to be involved with killing people is a dangerous public policy.  

Who do they think they are fooling. We are all capable of reading HB 47 and recognizing the lies, lies and more lies from the assisted suicide lobby “experts.”

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.