The Corner

NM Assisted Suicide Bill Moves Toward Death on Demand

Assisted suicide pushers are–to put it kindly–disingenuous.

For example, they often offer smooth assurances about “safeguards” to protect against abuse. Yet, new legalization schemes often dilute the traditional already-as-thick-as-water limitations in place where lethally prescribing is now legal.

For example, most laws require doctors to diagnose and prescribe lethally. But a bill in New Mexico would open those who can help kill to nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.

Generally a suicidal person needs to be terminally ill in US proposals (not so internationally), defined as 6 months left to live. (Some people so diagnosed never die of their condition, or live for years.)

But even that illusory protection is too strict for the New Mexico bill’s sponsors. Rather, it would institute far broader ”foreseeable” standard, first introduced by the Canadian government in its euthanasia law. From House Bill 171:

F. “terminal illness” means a disease or condition that is incurable and irreversible and that, in accordance with reasonable medical judgment, will result in death within a reasonably foreseeable period of time.

“Reasonably foreseeable” could include illnesses like terminal breast cancer, in which longevity can be measured in years with aggressive treatment. Ditto, early Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Heck when you get down to it, being a frail 90 years old could be construed as a “condition” qualifying for a lethal prescription, since the death of someone that age experiencing morbidity is certainly foreseeable.

And, like Washington State, the bill would require prescribers to lie on death certificates:

SECTION 4. [NEW MATERIAL] DEATH CERTIFICATE–CAUSE OF DEATH

The cause of death listed on an individual’s death certificate who is deceased pursuant to self-administration of medical-aid-in-dying medication pursuant to the End of Life Options Act shall be the individual’s underlying terminal illness.

The point of such legally mandated corruption is to destroy all transparency.

And look at this: Doctors must meet professional standards of care when treating patients. But in helping kill them? All they–and caregivers–need is the “good faith,” a completely subjective standard, which also applies to caregivers and family members.

A. A person that acts in good faith to comply with the provisions of Section 3 the End of Life Options Act shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability or professional disciplinary action for such action.

This immunity extends to attending health care providers, a patient’s caregivers and another person that acts to assist the attending health care provider or patient.

And get this, there are no waiting periods required from request for a lethal prescription to its writing. That means a patient could be told she is foreseeably terminally ill, ask for the poison, and receive it, and kill herself on the same day. That’s almost akin to death on demand.

Those pushing to permit medicalized killing pretend to want a very narrow license. As I said above, and to put it as kindly as I can, that is…

Aw to heck with tact: They are utterly mendacious.

The Patients Rights Council (for which I am a paid consultant) offers a more detailed analysis of the New Mexico bill.

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