When they speak to the general public or to legislators, advocates for assisted suicide routinely express concern about ensuring patient safety, and point to the allegedly rigorous safeguards that they have written into their proposed bills. We have long countered that these safeguards are mere shams, and provide no real protection for vulnerable patients.
Now, thanks to an article at an obscure legal blog, we know what the assisted suicide advocates really think. They want no safeguards at all. They believe that any patient protections written into law are harmful and unnecessary. They want assisted suicide to be a normal part of medical practice and for doctors alone to set the standards.
In other words, they've been deceiving us all along about what they really want.
The truth was revealed in a
by Kathryn Tucker, who is the Executive Director of the "End of Life Liberty Project". She is a leading advocate for assisted suicide, and is one of the attorneys who is suing New York State to have assisted suicide legalized. She was commenting on the recent District of Columbia law that legalized assisted suicide -- a bill that her fellow advocates drafted and which is similar to all the bills that have been introduced around the country, including the one her own organization has endorsed in New York.
But despite the lip service that they pay to patient protection, the reality is that she has no use for safeguards that are designed to protect patients from abuse and manipulation. Instead she calls them "burdens and restrictions", and adds:
While in some ways these enactments are a step toward expanding end of life liberty, they impose heavy governmental intrusion into the practice of medicine, which is concerning because it creates barriers to patient access and to physician participation.
"Barriers" to more death, in other words.
She then went on to object to such common-sense protections as:
- Requiring the patient to make multiple requests, including at least one in writing, which is designed to ensure that the patient isn't acting rashly.
- Requiring that the request be witnessed, which would ensure that the request is being made by a competent person who is not under coercion.
- Obtaining a second opinion, which is intended to protect the patient from a mis-diagnosis
- Referring the patient to a mental health specialist to ensure that they are competent to make medical decisions.
- Mandating a fifteen-day waiting period, again to ensure that the decision isn't being made rashly.
- Requiring that doctors collect and report data about the case, which would allow public health authorities and law enforcement to oversee what is happening and take action if there are abuses.
Now, to be clear, we consider all of these supposed safeguards to be inadequate to protect vulnerable patients. They leave too many loopholes, such as the failure to insist on a psychological screening for depression. And most alarming, they don't provide any protection whatsoever after the medicine has been dispensed and the patient leaves the hospital. These problems can't be fixed, and that alone is a reason to oppose legalization.
But now we know what assisted suicide activists are really after. They want more patients to have "access" to suicide, so that more people can kill themselves. And they want more doctors who are willing to participate in the killing. They don't want to give patients even the minimal protections that go along with the execution of simple legal documents like wills, health care proxies or powers of attorney. They want doctors like Dr. Kevorkian to make up their own rules. And they don't want anyone to be able to oversee what's happening and hold people accountable.
The awful truth is that their agenda is death, and more of it. They want to push us down the slippery slope. They must be stopped.