News and Commentary

‘Death with Dignity’ Advocates Have Found A Loophole To Legalize It In All 50 States (UPDATE: Not Quite)

This article has been changed since it’s original publication.

Like the pro-abortion crowd which found a loophole to legalize the deadly institution via the Supreme Court, the so-called “Death with Dignity” advocates may have found a way to legalize assisted suicide in all 50 states thanks to a recent bill in New Mexico.

According to LifeNews, the New Mexico House Bill 90 would theoretically make assisted suicide legal across the United States by allowing for something known as suicide tourism, where non-residents of the state could visit simply to kill themselves.

“The bill is referred to as The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act,” reports the outlet. “The most concerning part of HB 90 does not have a residency requirement and it allows assisted suicide to be approved via telemedicine. Therefore, if legalized, Bill HB 90 will allow suicide tourism and legalize assisted suicide in all 50 US States.”

The bill also does not require patients to “self administer,” paving the way for euthanasia, transforming the healing medical profession into a death profession overnight. The bill also does not require the patient to have a second assessor, thereby opening the door for people to kill themselves who are not in a sound state of mind. Other concerns listed by LifeNews include:

  • Allowing people with mental health disorders to die by assisted suicide
  • Requiring health care providers to falsify the death certificate
  • Providing legal protection for anyone who participates in the act
  • Negating conscience rights for health care providers by forcing them to refer for assisted suicide
  • Using the undefined term “foreseeable future” for terminal illness

Should the bill pass the State House and Senate, the newly-elected governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, has already expressed her support for the legalization of assisted suicide.

The bill comes at a time when the U.S. suicide rate has reached a 50 year high to the point of lowering the overall life expectancy rate. Assisted suicide has been legalized in Oregon, Washington state, California, Colorado, Vermont, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.

While the “Death with Dignity” advocates claim that assisted suicide and euthanasia are “quick and painless” ways for the terminally ill to pass on, the science in the matter is not quite as simple.

According to a recent study by two physicians in MD Magazine, not all procedures go as quickly or as peacefully as advertised. In fact, some assisted suicides can last up to four days after ingesting lethal drugs, with patients dying slow, agonizing deaths. Published by Dr. Ronald W. Pies and Dr. Annette Hanson, the pair debunked 12 common myths associated with physician-assisted suicide (PAD).

Noting that assisted suicide in no way guarantees “a peaceful death,” the physicians warned that those who support the practice “need to consider how to address the potential for adverse outcomes, including longer time to death than expected (up to 24 hours or more), awakening from unconsciousness, nausea, vomiting, and gasping.”

Probing several cases between 1998 and 2005, the doctors cited 27 out of 994 PAS cases “involved difficulty ingesting or regurgitating the drugs, and there were 6 known instances in which patients regained consciousness after ingesting the drugs.”

“However, it is difficult to know the actual rate of drug-induced complications, because in the majority (54%) of cases between 1998 and 2015, no health care professional was present to attend and observe the patient’s death,” they explained.

Actual physicians are not always in attendance during the procedure, which is sometimes administered by subordinates, so “the possibility of abuse—eg, by coercive family members—cannot be adequately assessed.”

UPDATE: Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director for the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, recently amended a previous report to clarify that HB 90 does not permit “suicide tourism.” Report below:

On December 26 I published an article stating that the New Mexico assisted suicide bill (HB 90) may allow assisted suicide tourism. My article was wrong.

New Mexico assisted suicide Bill HB 90 is a dangerous assisted suicide bill and it is also written in an awkward manner.

All assisted suicide bills include a list of requirements to approve a person for a lethal prescription. That list always includes … a residency requirement.

For instance, the Oregon assisted suicide act states that a “Qualified patient” means a capable adult who is a resident of Oregon.

HB 90 has a list of requirements but it does not include a residency requirement. But HB 90 does define “Adult” as a resident of the state who is eighteen years of age or older.

A problem exists. Section 3 in HB 90, describes the qualifications for assisted suicide, but it does not use the term “Adult,” it uses the term “individual.”

The term “Adult” only shows up in the form: REQUEST FOR MEDICATION TO END MY LIFE IN A PEACEFUL MANNER. This is the form for requesting assisted suicide that says:

I … am an adult of sound mind.

In fact the form requesting assisted suicide is the only time HB 90 uses the word “Adult.”