Monday, June 22, 2015

SB 128 Questions & Answers

For more detailed information
click on these links to see a
 memo and attachments by
attorney Margaret Dore.
See also this press release.

1.  What does SB 128 do?

SB 128 seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia.

2.  What is physician-assisted suicide?

In the context of SB 128, a doctor writes a prescription for a lethal dose of medication for the purpose of a patient's suicide. Other people, such as family members, are allowed to assist the suicide, for example, by: suggesting suicide to dad; picking up the lethal dose at the pharmacy; and handing the lethal dose to dad for the purpose of his committing suicide.  

3.  What is euthanasia?

Euthanasia is the direct administration of a lethal dose by someone else to cause another person's death.

4.  How does SB 128 create the perfect crime?

Older people with money are already at risk of abuse and even death at the hands of their family members and other predators wanting an inheritance, life insurance, etc.  With SB 128, there is the creation of the perfect crime:

  • The death is allowed to occur in private, without witnesses.  Even if the person struggled, who would know?
  • After the person dies, the death certificate is REQUIRED to reflect a natural death.*
  • Death benefits under a will or due to life insurance are required to be paid out as if the person had died of a terminal disease.*

5.  Why is it true that people eligible for assisted suicide/euthanasia may have years, even decades, to live? 

SB 128 applies to people with a “terminal disease,” which is defined in terms of a doctor’s determination of less than six months to live. In real life, such persons can have years, even decades to live.  This true for many reasons, including:

  • The six months to live determination is made without treatment.  People with chronic conditions, such as insulin dependent diabetes, are “terminal” for the purpose of assisted suicide because they are dependent on insulin to live:  Without insulin, they will with reasonable medical certainty die in less that six months.
  • Predicting life expectancy is not an exact science so that doctors are sometimes wrong, and sometimes way wrong.
  • Treatment can lead to recovery.

*  Recent amendments to SB 128 did not eliminate the requirement that the death certificate be falsified to reflect a terminal disease.  Rather they moved the requirement to the fine print.  See memo, pp 6-8.