Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Information About Assisted “Suicide”

There is legislation being considered in several states
regarding the legality of assisted suicide.

AUGUSTA, GA (PR) - The Central Savannah River Area Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State is scheduled to meet on Sunday, September 20, 2015 at 3 pm at the Columbia County Library at 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd, Evans, GA. The meeting room is on the basement floor, and it is accessible by wheelchair. Admission is free and open to the public.

The guest speaker is Robert Rivas of Final Exit Network. His presentation is titled "Unconstitutional Restrictions on Your Right to Know About Assisted Suicide." Mr. Rivas serves as Final Exit Network's legal counsel, and he argued successfully before the Georgia Supreme Court that Georgia's assisted suicide law violated its constitution.

The presentation includes a brief survey of the laws governing the right to death with dignity and assisted "suicide," explaining the historical reasons why the opposition to assisted "suicide" is based on a religious prohibition, only recently given a pseudo-secular justification. In recent years, the opposition to assisted "suicide" has begun trying to prohibit the right to provide information and education about methods of "suicide."

In Minnesota, Final Exit Network has been convicted this year of "assisting in a suicide" in a case where there was no evidence of "assisting," and the conviction was based solely on Final Exit Network providing information and education to a competent adult, with no quality of life and no hope for improvement, about how to successfully, painlessly, and quickly terminate her own suffering.

California Bill (ABX2 15) Passed Friday

If signed by Governor Brown, here is what will happen under the "End of Life Option Act:" 

"Doctor shopping" could take place until a health care professional can be found to declare that the patient is qualified for the lethal prescription.

If an attending physician believes a patient does not have the ability to make an informed decision or that the patient is being pressured to request the prescription for assisted suicide, nothing in the bill prohibits a health care provider, family member or another person from arranging for the patient to be evaluated by other health care professionals until one is found who would declare the patient capable of choosing assisted suicide.

This has taken place in Oregon where it has been noted that ―a psychological disorder — senility, for example — does not necessarily disqualify a person.

A woman died of assisted suicide under Oregon’s ―Death with Dignity Act,‖ even though she was suffering from early dementia. Her own physician had declined to provide a lethal prescription for her. When counseling to determine her capacity was sought, a psychiatrist determined that she was not eligible for assisted suicide since she was not explicitly pushing for it and her daughter seemed to be coaching her to do so. She was then taken to a psychologist who determined that she was competent but possibly under the influence of her daughter who was ―somewhat coercive.

Finally, she was assessed by a managed care ethicist who determined that she qualified for assisted suicide, and the lethal dose was prescribed.

According to the last official Oregon report, the duration of the patient-physician relationship was, in some cases, less than one week.

Effective investigation into violation of the law and patient abuse would be prevented. 443.19 (a) The State Department of Public Health shall collect and review the information submitted pursuant to Section 443.9.

The information collected shall be confidential and shall be collected in a manner that protects the privacy of the patient, the patient’s family, and any medical provider or pharmacist involved with the patient under the provisions of this part. The information shall not be disclosed, discoverable, or compelled to be produced in any civil, criminal, administrative, or other proceeding.

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