Friday, April 10, 2015

SB 202 Presumed Dead

On February 11, 2015, SB 202, seeking to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia, was tabled in committee.  The bill is now presumed dead.

Under the bill, young adults with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, would have been "eligible" for assisted suicide and euthanasia.  The bill, if passed, would have created the following problems:
  • The encouragement of people with decades to live to throw away their lives.  
  • The creation of new paths of elder abuse, especially for people with money (in the inheritance context).
  • The empowerment of health care systems to steer patients to suicide, which is well documented in Oregon, one of the few states where assisted suicide is legal. 
  • An increase in other "conventional" suicides, including violent suicides by firearms, which is the case in Oregon. 
    To view documentation regarding these problems, and other problems with legalization, please click here for the text; click here for the attachments

    Thank you to everyone for your help to make the defeat of SB 202 possible.

    Monday, March 30, 2015

    Tell Your Legislators to Vote "Yes" on HB 477!

    HB 477 will reverse Baxter and send a clear message that medical killings are prohibited and against public policy.  Individuals will be protected from the medical establishment, individual doctors and family members with something to gain.

    A.  Involuntary Medical Killings.

    Throughout the US, there are increasing reports of involuntary medical killings.[1] Consider a 2012 case against Kaiser Healthcare. Doctors killed the patient, a wealthy older man, through a “terminal extubation.” His daughters had allegedly urged this result in order to obtain large inheritances.[2]  In Montana, examples include Dr. James Mungas, who was killed under the guise of hospice/palliative care.  His widow, Carol Mungas, states:
    It is traumatic, still, to realize his last communications were attempts to get help.[3]
    B.  Likely Problems

    Baxter has created confusion in the law and has emboldened some doctors and family members to publicly admit participation in assisted suicides.  If HB 477 is not enacted, this situation will likely lead to defacto legality and the following problems:

        1.  New paths of elder abuse, especially for people with money.

    Legal assisted suicide creates new paths of elder abuse. Consider, for example, the Thomas Middleton case, where legal physician-assisted suicide in Oregon was part of a financial elder abuse fraud.

        2.  Steerage to suicide.

    It is well documented that Oregon's Medicaid program steers patients to suicide (suicide is covered in lieu of treatments for cure or to extend life).  Private health plans and providers have this same ability. To learn more, see this affidavit by Oregon doctor, Kenneth Stevens, MD.

        3.  Pressure on patients. 

    See this letter by Marlene Deakins, RN, describing the pressure put on her brother after he merely asked a question about assisted suicide in Washington State.

        4.  More conventional suicides, including violent suicides.

    In Oregon, conventional suicides, including violent suicides, have substantially increased with legalization of assisted suicide. This is consistent with a suicide contagion.  The financial cost of these suicides is "enormous."  For more information, click here.

        5.  Pressure to expand to non-terminal people.

    In Washington state, there have been "trial balloon" proposals to expand its law to non-terminal people, including those who have simply fallen on hard times. See e.g., this column in the Seattle Times, suggesting euthanasia for people without money for their old age.  

    C.  Contact Your Legislators.

    Contact your legislators and urge them to vote "YES" on HB 477.

    * * *
    [1]  Peter Whoriskey, "As More Hospices Enroll Patients who Aren't Dying, Questions About Lethal Doses Arise," The Washington Post, August 21, 2014. 
    [2] William Dotinga, “Grim Complaint Against Kaiser Hospital,” Feb. 6, 2012.
    [3] Carol Mungas, at 

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015

    HB 477 PASSES the House

    Yesterday, HB 477, which overrules Montana's Baxter decision by clarifying that physician-assisted suicide is against public policy and prohibited, passed the House of Representatives.

    Many thanks to our sponsor, Representative Jerry Bennett, for making this happen.

    The next step is the Senate.

    Monday, March 16, 2015

    HB 477 Passes Third Reading

    Today, HB 477, providing that physician-assisted suicide is against public policy, passed on third reading on the floor of the House of Representatives, with a tie vote, 51 to 48.  The bill seeks to overturn Montana's Baxter decision, which gives doctors who assist a suicide a potential defense to a homicide charge.

    Another bill, HB 328, which had also sought to overturn Baxter, failed 51 to 49.  SB 202, which would have legalized physician-assisted suicide, is apparently dead in Committee.

    We thank everyone who helped us get this far, especially our sponsor, Representative Jerry Bennett, our volunteers and our financial contributors.

    [UPDATE:  On April 28, 2015, HB 477 died in the Senate Judiciary Committee]