By Paul Stark, MCCL Director of Communications
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) strongly opposes legislation just introduced that would legalize assisted suicide in Minnesota. The bill would authorize doctors to prescribe lethal drugs for certain patients to intentionally end their own lives.
“This legislation has gone nowhere in past years, and for good reasons. Assisted suicide is a danger to all of us,” said MCCL Co-Executive Director Cathy Blaeser. “The truth is that legalizing assisted suicide would pose real risks to Minnesotans. Lawmakers in St. Paul should stop pushing dangerous, misguided, and extreme proposals and work to protect and care for all Minnesotans instead.”
The bill, S.F. 1813, is authored by Sen. Kelly Morrison (DFL-Deephaven). Among its dangers are the following:
- Once the lethal drug has been dispensed, no safeguards exist to prevent pressure, coercion, or abuse. No one is required to witness the death.
- The bill does not require a psychiatric evaluation before the patient receives the drug (the decision to refer for evaluation is left with the prescribing doctor). In Oregon and Washington (the first two states to legalize assisted suicide), only a tiny fraction of patients seeking suicide are evaluated, and research shows that some patients receiving lethal drugs have suffered from depression.
- The bill says only patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live are eligible, but these predictions are often unreliable. In states with similar laws, some patients qualifying for assisted suicide have gone on to live for years.
“People who are at risk of suicide deserve our protection,” said Blaeser. “Those facing an adverse prognosis or the challenges of disability deserve our concern and protection no less than physically healthy and able-bodied people.”
Similar legislation has been proposed several times in recent years but has not advanced.