9/11/15: Assisted suicide bill will take the lives of the weak and vulnerable

UPDATE: October 5, 2015 -- A terrible decision by Gov. Jerry Brown to turn California from the Golden State into the 'Suicide State.' He has SIGNED 'assisted suicide' bill ABX2-15 into law. Our 9/11/15 news release below highlights several reasons why this is wrong. 
September 11, 2015 -- For Immediate Release
Assisted suicide bill will take the lives of the weak and vulnerable

Thomasson: "Jerry Brown needs to realize that no witness at death, no requirement to self-administer, and effectively permitting forgery of a final attestation form sets up weak and vulnerable Californians to be killed off"

Sacramento, California -- A leading family values organization in California says vulnerable people will die before their time, now that the Democrat-controlled California Legislature has sent their "assisted suicide" bill to Governor Jerry Brown. Today's state Senate passage of ABX2-15 was by the same margin that an earlier "assisted suicide" bill, SB 128, passed in early June -- 23 yes votes in the 40-member upper house.

"For all practical purposes, this bill will open the door to pressure the weak and vulnerable to die prematurely," said Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, which promotes moral virtues for the common good, and which lobbied against the bill. "People who otherwise could have fought to live or at least extended their lives will be 'helped' to die early, and that's shameful, and even criminal. This would give California an awful legacy. The governor should ready his veto pen."

"The floor authors answered deceptively when asked about a witness at death and whether a person must self-administer the lethal drug," Thomasson said. "Jerry Brown needs to realize that no witness at death, no requirement to self-administer, and effectively permitting forgery of a final attestation form sets up weak and vulnerable Californians to be killed off. This bill sets up the perfect crime, and that itself justifies a veto."

"This assisted-suicide bill actually permits a legal heir to help request and even administer the lethal drug," Thomasson said. "If the prescribed patient hesitates or delays, what's to stop someone from dissolving the water-soluble drug and giving it to the unsuspecting patient to drink? They would be virtually exempt from law enforcement because no witness is required and killers can effectively claim the bill protects them from civil liability and criminal prosecution. For without a witness, how would anyone know whether a crime was committed or if there was a struggle?"

"It's frightening how this bill would open the door to the the state government, HMOs, and hospitals steering people toward suicide," Thomasson added. "In Oregon, the state has sent letters that both reject medical treatment and suggest suicide. Is the California bill any different when it permits insurers to reject medical treatment in one letter and suggest suicide in a second letter?"

"ABX2-15 exempts doctors prescribing these poison pills from any and all liability," Thomasson said. "This blanket immunity will result in unreported coercion to usher in early deaths that will save hospitals and insurance companies money. Because some patients are cheaper dead than alive!"

"When a law permits doctors to 'help' kill patients, and exempts physicians from liability, that's a license to coerce, if not a license to kill," Thomasson said. "How opposite from the Hippocratic Oath, where physicians pledge, 'I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan.'"

"What's more, this bad bill promotes medical deception by prohibiting doctors from writing 'suicide' or 'physician-assisted suicide' on the death certificate as the cause of death," Thomasson noted. "And the bill fails to require that psychiatrist expertly confirm the patient 'has the capacity to make medical decisions, is acting voluntarily, and has made an informed decision.' And what about developmentally disabled persons, and people with dementia or Alzheimer's? Since they can't reliably choose suicide, why aren't they exempt from this bill? And what about the 40% of Oregon assisted suicides where the person saw themselves as a 'burden' on family, friends, and caregivers?" Will pressured people's decisions now be called voluntary?"

"The pain argument is a fabrication," Thomasson continued. "Not only are today's pain-compliance therapies so advanced as to largely extinguish pain, Oregonians requesting physician-assisted suicide do not cite pain as a major concern. Instead, they're largely concerned about loss of independence, ability, and 'dignity.' Yet these are marks of depression and no depressed person should be offered suicide. A 21-year-old, hospitalized after receiving serious injuries in an auto accident, could have similar complaints. This bad bill essentially targets depressed people who, rightly or wrongly, have been labeled 'terminal,' and hands them the equivalent of a loaded gun. This is not good public policy, and flies in the face of existing suicide prevention programs that are part of Prop. 63."

"If 'assisted suicide' becomes the law, you can expect suicide to gain in popularity," Thomasson said. "Look at the rash of copycat suicides in Palo Alto, where nearly every year one or more teenagers throw themselves in front of a train. Look at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, where numerous suicides have necessitated a suicide-prevention telephone and posted sign, reading "There is hope, make the call." Look how the rate of 'conventional' suicides are running rampant in Oregon, with hospitals reporting an alarming rate of 'self-inflicted' suicide attempts, making suicide the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults. It's clear that promoting one kind of suicide promotes suicide in general."

From the Oregon Public Health Division, 2012: "Suicides in Oregon: Trends and Risk Factors":

"Suicide is an important public health problem in Oregon. Health surveys conducted in 2008 and 2009 show that approximately 15 percent of teens and four percent of adults ages 18 and older had serious thoughts of suicide during the past year; and about five percent of teens and 0.4 percent of adults made a suicide attempt in the past year. In 2010, there were 685 Oregonians who died by suicide and more than 2,000 hospitalizations due to suicide attempts. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Oregonians ages 15-34, and the 8th leading cause of death among all ages in Oregon. The cost of suicide is enormous. In 2010 alone, self-inflicted injury hospitalization charges exceeded 41 million dollars; and the estimate of total lifetime cost of suicide in Oregon was over 680 million dollars. The loss to families and communities broadens the impact of each death."

-- end --
SaveCalifornia.com is a leading West Coast nonprofit, nonpartisan organization standing strong for moral virtues for the common good. We represent children and families in the areas of marriage and family, parental rights, the sanctity of human life, religious freedom, financial freedom, and back-to-basics education.



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