Sunday, February 17, 2013

Assisted Suicide Leads to Elder Abuse

This legislative session, suicide proponents have again proposed a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide. The bill, Senate Bill 220, is nearly identical to a bill defeated last session. More importantly, it�s once again, a recipe for elder abuse.

With physician-assisted suicide, a doctor facilitates a patient's suicide via a lethal dose. Family members, including the patient's heirs who will benefit financially from the death, are also allowed to be involved.

SB220 has two parts. First, there is an application process. Once the lethal dose is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight. Not even a witness is required. This creates the opportunity for an heir, or someone else who will benefit from the death, to administer the lethal dose to the patient without her consent and without anyone knowing what happened.

Assisted-suicide is only legal in Oregon and Washington. Proponents claim that these laws are safe due to safeguards including doctor reporting. SB220, however, eliminates reporting and other safeguards. With the lack of oversight over administration of the lethal dose, SB220 is, regardless, a recipe for elder abuse. Please tell your legislators to vote no.

Bradley Williams
Montanans Against Assisted Suicide