The deadly and dangerous practice of assisted suicide is now legal in five states (Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, and Colorado) and the District of Columbia, our nation's capital. With new momentum and lots of money, assisted suicide proponents are pursuing an aggressive nationwide campaign to advance their agenda through legislation, ballot measures, litigation, and public advertising, targeting states they see as most susceptible to their message.
The following dangers are among the top reasons to oppose assisted suicide:
A Deadly Mix with Our Profit-Driven Health Care System
- Some patients in Oregon and California have received word that their health insurance will pay for assisted suicide but will not pay for treatment that may sustain their lives.
Puts Vulnerable Persons at Risk of Abuse and Coercion
- Elder abuse is considered a major health problem in the United States, with federal estimates that one in ten elder persons are abused. Placing lethal drugs into the hands of abusers generates an additional major risk to elder persons.
Dangerously Broad Definition of Terminal Illness
- Assisted suicide laws typically appear to limit eligibility to terminally ill patients who are expected to die within six months but don't distinguish between persons who will die within six months with treatment and those who will die within six months without treatment. This means that patients with treatable diseases (like diabetes or chronic respiratory or cardiac disease) and patients with disabilities requiring ventilator support are all eligible for lethal drugs because they would die within six months without the treatment they would normally receive.
Pain Not the Primary Issue
- Untreated pain is not among the top reasons for taking lethal drugs. Most seeking lethal drugs said they were doing so because they were "less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable" and were "losing autonomy," and about half cited being a "burden" on family, friends or caregivers.
No Psychiatric Evaluation or Treatment Required
Threatens Improvement of Palliative Care
- There is compelling evidence that legalizing assisted suicide undermines efforts to maintain and improve good care for patients nearing the end of life, including patients who never wanted assisted suicide.