NRL News

Opposition to assisted suicide is strong in the U.S.

by | Apr 3, 2018

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In 2017, there were 26 states that were challenged by assisted suicide campaigns and all 26 states rejected them. This year 25 states have had assisted suicide bills introduced in their legislatures and as of now, only Hawaii has passed the bill. Yet the theme the media is portraying is that the assisted suicide lobby is gaining momentum, yet in reality the opposite remains true.

But there is more to the story. Richard Doerflinger, with the Lozier Institute, recently examined the assisted suicide data in the US. Doerflinger explains how assisted suicide bills have been overwhelmingly defeated but also that 10 states have added or strengthened laws preventing assisted suicide since 1997.

Doerflinger commented:

This map shows the 42 states that ban assisted suicide without exception — ten of which passed new laws against it SINCE Oregon’s law took effect in 1997. Three of these states passed new laws in the last year — Alabama and Utah passed new bans, and Ohio added criminal penalties to its 2003 law allowing for civil penalties. Another 32 states have retained their older statutes or common law bans despite the assisted suicide movement’s repeated attempts against those policies. Meanwhile, four states (and DC) have acted to follow Oregon’s lead in the last 20 years. So which side is widely portrayed in the press as having big momentum?

Similar data was published by Lozier last year with research by Dr Jacqueline Abernathy.

In the past few months, assisted suicide has been defeated in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, while the South Dakota voter initiative failed to get the needed signatures and more importantly Utah passed a bill criminalizing assisted suicide.

What has changed is the fact that the assisted suicide lobby is now working to expand assisted suicide laws. The Connecticut assisted suicide bill also legalized euthanasia. In Wisconsin and Massachusetts the assisted suicide bills require physicians to “do or refer,” while the Delaware’s assisted suicide bill specifically approved people with disabilities.

Fabian Stahle, a researcher in Sweden, learned that the definition of “terminal disease” used by the Oregon Health Authority was wider than the regular definition of terminal disease. He confirmed that people who are chronically ill can be approved for assisted suicide in Oregon, even if they do not have a terminal disease when they refuse effective treatment.

The Oregon assisted suicide law, that all other assisted suicide bills are based upon, is designed to deceive.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.

Categories: Assisted Suicide