Human Exceptionalism

Here Come the Assisted Suicide Bills

Two states have had assisted suicide bills introduced; Hawaii and New Hampshire. Hawaii’s law requires a suicide “monitor” to be present at the death–which in practice would often be an assisted suicide ideologue, such as the “counselors” who work with Compassion and Choices:

Monitor required; form. (a) A qualified patient shall designate a competent adult to act as a monitor and who shall be present at the time of actual administration of the medication to the qualified patient and shall witness the event. The monitor shall have the power to act on behalf of the qualified patient to:

(1) Stop the administration of the medication if it has not yet been carried out; or (2) Enlist medical assistance to attempt to reverse the effect of the medication if the medication has already been delivered,if the monitor has reason to believe that the qualified patient has had a change of mind and is not able to effectively express or communicate the wish not to proceed taking the medication.

The New Hampshire bill seeks to expand the law as it exists in Oregon. For example, rather than define terminal illness as a patient reasonably expected to have six months or less to live, the New Hampshire bill uses an expansive definition of “terminal illness” that is wide enough through which to drive a hearse: From the NH bill:

XIII. “Terminal condition” means an incurable and irreversible condition, for the end stage of which there is no known treatment which will alter its course to death, and which, in the opinion of the attending physician and consulting physician competent in that disease category, will result in premature death.

What is a “premature death” anyway? It could be just about anything. Indeed, Jack Kevorkian once infamously said that a terminal illness is one that shortens a life by a single day.

Moreover, read the definition carefully: It this definition of terminal condition could include a broad host of diseases and conditions that are not thought to be terminal illnesses as generally defined in the immediate sense. For example, asymptomatic HIV infection would qualify as a terminal condition since there is now no known treatment that alters its course to death. (It might slow it down, but not alter it.) So would early Alzheimer’s disease. Perhaps also cancers not expected to be cured and kidney disease. Indeed, under this definition a disease that could take years to kill the patient could technically qualify as a terminal condition under this definition making the patient qualified for assisted suicide.

But you see, that is the plan. Advocates for mercy killing constantly push the boundaries here, and blur normal definitions there–with the ultimate goal of enacting a very broad license to mercy kill that reaches far beyond terminal illness to the anarchy of death on demand.

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