SB. 128, the CA assisted suicide bill that appeared to have died last week, as been resurrected in the CA Senate. The debate and a possible vote will take place tomorrow. True Dignity urges everyone to contact the following legislators:
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]’[email protected]’; ‘[email protected]’; ‘[email protected]’; ‘[email protected]’; ‘[email protected]’; ‘[email protected]’; ‘[email protected]
If you are not a Californian be upfront about that. Say that your own state and you as an individual will be impacted by the passage of this bill in any other state. Ask the senators to vote against SB 128, because no number of safeguards can prevent error or abuse, which in the case of death are irremediable and in the case of purposely caused death are inexcusable. Assisted suicide is terrible public policy.
Keep it short and simple. Do not write about religion, because the proponents of assisted suicide are very skillful at pretending that opposition is only from religious people trying to impose their views on everyone. You can choose to make one of the following points:
1. This bill, which is based on the premise that suicide is an OK solution to some problems, will likely result, through the phenomenon of suicide contagion, in an increase in the rate of non-assisted suicide. In Oregon, the general suicide rate, which had been going down throughout the nineties, began to rise right after legalization of assisted suicide and has continued to rise. According to some reports, Oregon has the second highest non-assisted suicide rate in the country.
2. This bill is a recipe for elder abuse. Even if it required witnesses at the time of ingestion of the drugs, which it does not, that would not prevent pressure from relatives and caregivers.
3. This bill is really about horror of disability and threatens people with disability. Very few Oregonians get drugs to commit suicide because they fear pain. Instead they cite loss of autonomy, loss of the ability to do enjoyable things, and being a burden to their families. Doctors often share the attitude that life is not worth living if a person cannot take care of himself, and they communicate it to their disabled patients by offering comfort care when lifesaving care is appropriate. The very offer of comfort care rather than treatment is pressure. “Futility” and “potentially inappropriate treatment” are increasingly being used to justify the denial of care a patient and his surrogate want. Cost saving is the mantra in health care and every other part of the economy. Introducing assisted suicide into this poisonous environment is insanity. It will not only threaten the morale of people with disabilities but the services they need simply to survive.
4. This bill discriminates against the poor. The rich can get the best medical care, regardless of cost. In Oregon, the poor have already been steered to assisted suicide by having their wanted and prescribed treatment denied by Medicaid. Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup received letters denying coverage for their chemotherapy and offering coverage for assisted suicide among the alternatives. We hear that Oregon no longer sends those letters, but it still denies coverage for treatment and offers coverage for assisted suicide. The poor are still being steered towards suicide.
5. This bill will result in the death of people whose prognoses are incorrect, who will reject treatment, or for whom a cure might have been discovered. Jeanette Hall is alive and well more than a decade after being given a terminal diagnosis and after asking her doctor to help her use the Oregon assisted suicide law. Fortunately he persuaded her to accept treatment instead.
6. This bill will offer people with treatable depression, the most common cause of suicide, help with suicide rather than suicide prevention. Studies show that depression in terminally ill people can be successfully treated.
SB 128 is probably going to the Senate floor only because proponents think they have the votes. The other side is certainly flooding Senators mailboxes with calls for the bills passage. We need to do the same thing in opposition. Please do this. You can make a difference.