STOPPING ASSISTED SUICIDE




STOPPING ASSISTED SUICIDE

On Friday and Saturday, January 25 and 26, my husband Denny and I were in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the “Stopping Assisted Suicide in Your State” international conference, hosted by Alex Schadenburg (a HALO board member) and his organization, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC). Attendees—in person and online—were treated to talks about preventing the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. The expert presenters—activists, writers, investigators, legislators, etc.—hailed from the United States, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
Friday’s sessions addressed bills that are coming up in individual states. Already this year, bills have been introduced to legalize assisted suicide in Delaware and New Mexico, and to expand the existing law in Oregon.* The proponents of assisted suicide are changing their game plan. New Mexico’s bill attacks physicians’ conscience rights and the Delaware bill attempts a change in the language to normalize assisted suicide by redefining it as palliative care. Oregon’s expansion bill eliminates both the 15-day waiting period when the prescribing doctor wants an exception made, and the requirement that the patient have a prognosis of six months or less life-expectancy. This bill redefines “terminal disease” to mean a disease that will, within reasonable medical judgment, “substantially contribute” to a patient’s death. The term “substantially contribute” has not been defined.
On the federal level, the old S. 693 (Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act) is being reintroduced in the House as H.R. 647. Be aware of its potential dangers. See the feature article in last month’s edition of the HALO Monthly: “The Federal Closet Euthanasia Bill – why it must be stopped” (https://newsletter.halorganization.com/2019_02_07_archive.html).

Saturday was a full day of enlightening sessions.
Disability rights speakers warned that eligibility for assisted suicide is ever-expanding and that people with disabilities are being targeted as candidates for assisted suicide. They emphasized that more people with experiences of disabilities need to get involved in fighting assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Talking Points
Several speakers stressed the importance of talking points. Many common, everyday people have been convinced that assisted suicide is good. Therefore, common, everyday people need to be prepared with key talking points to reveal what is wrong with assisted suicide and why. Tons of facts against assisted suicide are outweighed by a few grams of emotion through “worst case” stories the other side provides to our legislators and the public.
Sharing our own stories helps engage people in discussion and helps the facts to win. Illustrating this point, the EPC’s new film— “Fatal Flaws”—was shown. With a series of riveting personal testimonies from North America and Western Europe, “Fatal Flaws” reveals how lives have been fractured and families damaged through legalized assisted suicide.
One key talking point is that the right to die movement’s promotion of death on demand is counter-intuitive to all suicide prevention programs. It is hurting people who have mental health issues. It encourages people, at their lowest point, to end their lives, instead of encouraging them to fight on,
Another talking point is that some people’s lives will be ended through mistakes, misdiagnoses, or abuse, and sometimes without their consent. Safeguards simply don’t work to prevent errors, mistreatment, and exploitation.
Nancy Elliott, former three-term New Hampshire legislator and president of EPC-USA, asked, “If assisted suicide and euthanasia are such honorable deaths, why would you hide it on the death certificates?” When people die by legal assisted suicide, every coroner and/or physician lies because, by law, they are not allowed to record assisted suicide as the cause of death. Instead, they list the cause as the person’s illness, covering up the assisted suicide that actually took place.
The conference speakers urged everyone—in small and big roles—to become involved. We are battling against huge amounts of money, media promotion, and a culture of death disguised as compassion. The more people are informed with personal stories and the facts, the more they oppose assisted suicide.
We ask you to do your part. One thing you can do right now is share this newsletter with your family and friends. Thank you.

*Since the “Stopping Assisted Suicide in Your State” conference, more states have had assisted suicide bills introduced. We’ll describe them in our April edition, by which time, unfortunately, there are likely to be several more deadly bills introduced.Please do frequent online searches. If you discover a bill to legalize assisted suicide in your state, vigorously oppose it.
Indifference is a surefire way to lose this life and death battle.

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