Elizabeth has brain cancer, but she’s made the decision to live every moment with her family. She knows real suffering, but she also knows real hope and a life worth fighting for.
Increasingly, activist groups are pushing for legalized assisted suicide so that doctors can prescribe lethal doses of drugs to patients like Elizabeth. Nationwide, 45 bills to legalize assisted suicide have been introduced. With your help, Family Policy Alliance and our network of 40 state-based family policy councils have been able to stop all of these bills so far this year by revealing the many layers of abuse and the culture of hopelessness and death that come with legal assisted suicide.
“The lead activist group pushing to legalize assisted suicide spent over $1 Million in Hawaii alone,” said Stephanie Curry, public policy manager for Family Policy Alliance, “but Family Policy Alliance and our state ally Hawaii Family Forum worked with families concerned about the potential for abuse against the elderly and those with serious illnesses to stop the Hawaii bill.”
That potential for abuse is why assisted suicide is illegal in most states. Only a handful of states have legal assisted suicide and until recently, Alabama was one of only three states that didn’t have a specific statute prohibiting the practice. The Alabama Legislature just passed a law that would officially make assisted suicide illegal in the state. HB 96 also includes criminal penalties for those who try to administer a lethal dose of drugs to terminally ill patients.
This bill upholds the sanctity of human life in the state and provides protection for the elderly, those with physical and mental disabilities.
“We are thrilled to work with families across the country who believe every life is worth fighting for,” Curry said. “No one should be abandoned to the hopelessness and lack of care that comes with assisted suicide—we can work together to come up with far better options for our loved ones than that.”
The people in Hawaii took action last week and succeeded in getting an assisted-suicide bill deferred in a House committee. Thousands of people called or emailed their legislators urging them to oppose any bill that would allow a doctor to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to a terminally ill patient.
Eva Andrade, president of Hawaii Family Forum, said deferring the bill showed sound moral reasoning by lawmakers.
“In the recent hearing on the issue, led by Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Health Committee Chair,” Andrade said, “we saw the committee members raise serious concerns about ‘medical aid in dying,’ challenging those representing both sides of the issue. They asked difficult, but necessary questions. There were many unanswered or unsettling responses by proponents.”
Compassion and Choices, a pro-assisted-suicide group, is now working to get the bill out of committee to force a vote on the House floor.
Andrade said assisted suicide puts many people at risk of abuse, including the elderly, the mentally ill and those with disabilities.
“We know that the people of Hawai’i are ready and willing to unite to teach our keiki (children) that suicide is a never a solution,” she added, “and that our kupuna (elders) should be protected from potential abandonment, coercion and abuse. Caring for people at the end of their lives is true ‘aloha’ and that’s worth fighting for!”
The American Medical Association (AMA) is once again taking steps to move away from its long-standing opposition to doctor-assisted suicide.
The group is meeting next month to consider a recommendation that the AMA take a neutral position on doctor-prescribed death. The decision means physicians are one step closer to losing the right to fight for our patients and their families at times when they need us most.
Traditionally, the AMA and its state medical societies have taken the position that every life is worth fighting for. Meanwhile, a “neutral” position taken by some state medical societies actually opened the door to giving doctors legal cover to prescribe deadly drugs for patients in that state.
The AMA’s recent flirtation with state-sanctioned suicide takes it, and all of us, into the dangerous territory of doctor-prescribed death:
- Endangers the doctor-patient relationship by introducing suicide as a legal treatment option
- In a climate of profit-driven health care, allows cost savings concerns of the patient or doctor to be a legitimate reason for suicide
- Doctors get it wrong; this position fails to protect patients from misdiagnoses or inaccurate prognoses, or depression-induced requests to die
- Puts vulnerable patients at risk for being pressured or coerced into suicide by weary caregivers or greedy heirs
- Provides little oversight of the process and control over medications in states where it’s legal
Hear from a doctor about why assisted suicide should never be considered “healthcare.”
Your Voice is Needed― Take Action Today
It’s critical this long-standing protection from the medical profession continues. We need to know that our doctors will continue to believe that every patient, regardless of health condition or economic status, is worth fighting for.
That’s why we’re asking you to contact both the national AMA, as well as your state medical society, urging each to oppose legalization of doctor-assisted suicide.
Please let your concerns be known by contacting these groups.
And, please forward this message so your friends and family, too, can take action.