ASSISTED SUICIDE NEWS


Major Report on Assisted Suicide Released by National Council on Disability 
This information was provided by the Patients Rights Action Fund. Contact: Barbara L. Lyons, Coalitions Director, 609-759-0322, Ext. 501 (office) or 414-322-6689 (cell).
An Assisted Suicide Report released on October 8 by the National Council on Disability (NCD) to the President of the United States is a major and important element in our efforts to keep lethal drugs out of our states and communities. Please circulate the report broadly, especially to legislators. 
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Public Library Provided Compassion & Choices a Forum to Promote Assisted Suicide in Minnesota
This account is condensed from the report of a person in attendance.
On September 17, Compassion & Choices (C&C), the leading organization in the movement to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in every state, promoted Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) at the Edina, Minnesota Senior Center located in the public library. Approximately 25 people attended. The presenters, Rev. Harlan Limpert, a Unitarian Universalist pastor, and Rebecca Thoman, MD, were introduced by a librarian.
Rev. Limpert told stories about "good deaths.” He said that a friend’s father in California took drugs to end his life, but first there was a party at which friends toasted him and said goodbye. Rev. Limpert looked at his watch, smiled and told us that the man’s son had called to tell Limpert that his father’s death had happened 48 hours and 10 minutes ago. It was chilling. 
Dr. Thoman no longer practices medicine; she is concentrating on public health policy and advocating for MAID. Using a PowerPoint presentation, she explained the contents of the MAID bill, authored by C&C, which was heard at an informational hearing in the Minnesota House earlier in September. Dr. Thoman said that C&C altered the bill from the version that they submitted last year. (There appeared to be even fewer safeguards for vulnerable people in the new version.) She said MAID passed the Minnesota House last year but was stalled in the Republican controlled Senate; this session, the Senate Majority Leader has refused to allow the MAID bill a hearing. 
The literature table displayed slick publications, including three colorful handouts. One was a graph of poll results purportedly showing how various groups weighed in on assisted suicide. Supposedly, 70% of Catholics favored it. Evangelicals were the group least likely to support it.
During the Q & A session following the presentation, the audience appeared to largely agree with the presenters. Questioners seemed to want control over when and how their lives would end. (Of course, it's possible that the audience was seeded with pro-euthanasia activists.) Dr. Thoman promoted Medical Power of Attorney and POLST documents to ensure their wishes would be carried out if they could not speak for themselves. In response to a question, she stated that a MAID death was not usually painful -- people just fell asleep and stopped breathing in a few minutes -- but "each person was different."
Jo Tolck, HALO’s Vice President, attended this event. The following is her report.
Quite sure I would only be allowed one question, I asked,
If a woman gets the drug (I used this word intentionally, since they kept avoiding it), how will you know that she took it rather than someone giving it to her without her knowledge? For instance, what if "sister" says that "brother", who was with Mom when she died, was having financial difficulties and she suspects brother slipped the drug into Mom's food rather than Mom taking it herself? Since the death certificate would indicate "cancer" rather than assisted suicide (again, I used this term intentionally), the police would not be able to investigate.
Rev. Limpert chuckled and said it was a long question, but he would try to repeat it. (They weren't having any questioner speak into the microphone.) He then turned it over to Dr. Thoman who replied that we all have medicine in our homes that could kill someone. She contended, when a doctor writes a prescription, the pharmacist doesn't go to the person's home to make sure she's the one who takes it and that there are no children who could get hold of it. "We" don't do that in those cases and we won't in this case,” she finished.
This analogy limps. When a person, whether adult or child, dies by a drug overdose, there is a police investigation and a doctor is not forced by law to lie about the cause of death on the death certificate. Even an apparent suicide is investigated to make certain there was no foul play. Why is an apparent assisted suicide treated differently?
The speaker was very polished, knew her "stuff", and the crowd definitely drank the Kool-Aid.

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