Saturday, August 29, 2015

ABX2-15 Talking Points

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

INTRODUCTION

On August 17, 2015, proponents unveiled Bill No. ABX2-15, which seeks to legalize "aid in dying," a term that means assisted suicide and euthanasia.

"Assisted suicide" means that a person assists another person's suicide.  If a physician is involved, the practice may be called "physician-assisted suicide." "Euthanasia" means the direct administration of a lethal agent with the intent to cause another person's death.

ABX2-15, is in substance an old bill (SB 128) that failed due to a lack of support. A detailed analysis of ABX2-15 can be viewed by clicking here and  here.

TALKING POINTS

1.  ABX2-15 Is a Recipe for Elder Abuse. 
  • The patient's heir, who will financially benefit from his/her death, is allowed to actively participate in signing the patient up for the lethal dose. See memo, p. 6. This fact alone does not meet the "stink test."

HTML Version: Vote "NO" on ABX2-15.

Below, find an html version of Margaret Dore's legal/policy memo opposing ABX2-15. To view the original memo, click here.  If the memo is too large for your computer, click here and here to view it as two smaller documents.

MEMORANDUM

TO THE CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY

VOTE "NO" ON ABX2-15.  (NO ASSISTED SUICIDE)

UPDATED AUGUST 26, 2015

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OVERVIEW

ABX2-15, the “End of Life Option Act,” seeking to legalize physician-assisted suicide in California is a recipe for elder abuse. The bill is not limited to people who are dying. Indeed, “eligible” persons can have years, even decades, to live.

In Oregon, which has a similar law, that state’s Medicaid program uses coverage incentives to steer people to suicide. If ABX2-15 is enacted, California’s Medicaid program, as well as private insurers, will be able to engage in this same conduct. Do you want this to happen to you or your family?

The bill has a myriad of other problems.  Please vote “No” on ABX2-15.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Updated Materials Against ABX2-15

To view a new materials against ABX2-15, click here and here for a memo and its appendix as separate documents.

Overview 

ABX2-15, the “End of Life Option Act,” seeking to legalize physician-assisted suicide in California is a recipe for elder abuse.  The bill is not limited to people who are dying.  Indeed, “eligible” persons can have years, even decades, to live.

In Oregon, which has a similar law, that state’s Medicaid program uses coverage incentives to steer people to suicide.  If ABX2-15 is enacted, California’s Medicaid program, as well as private insurers, will be able to engage in this same conduct.  Do you want this to happen to you or your family?

The bill has a myriad of other problems.  Please vote “No” on ABX2-15.

Monday, August 24, 2015

California's ABX2-15: Governor Not Impressed; Bill Is But A "New Number With the Same Song."

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

On August 17, 2015, the deceptively named Compassion & Choices unveiled its "new" deceptively named End of Life Option Act to great fanfare in a press credentialed only press conference.

Governor Jerry Brown has already weighed in that the present special session "is not the appropriate venue to consider the issue."

The new bill, ABX2-15, is in substance an old bill (SB 128) that was unable to make it out of committee.

ABX2-15 has some new provisions and puts some of the old bill's provisions in a different order. ABX2-15 is in substance the same bill as the old bill. Key points include:
  • ABX2-15 applies to patients with a "terminal disease." In Oregon, which has a similar law, such persons include young adults with chronic conditions such as insulin dependent diabetes and chronic lower respiratory disease. People living with HIV/AIDS, who are dependent on their medication to live, also qualify as "terminal." Such persons can have years, even decades, to live. 
  • Once a person is "labeled 'terminal,' an easy justification can be made that his or her treatment or coverage should be denied in favor of someone more deserving."[1] In Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, patients are not only denied coverage for treatment, they are offered assisted suicide instead.[2] Well known cases are Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup.[3]
  • The bill remains a recipe for elder abuse in which the patient's heir, who will financially benefit from his or her death, is allowed to actively participate in signing the patient up for the lethal dose. This fact alone does not meet the "stink test." 
  • Once the lethal dose is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight. Not even a witness is required at the death. If the patient struggled, who would know?
  • The death certificate is required to be falsified to reflect a natural death. The significance is a lack of transparency and an inability to prosecute for murder even in a case of outright murder for the money.

ABX2-15 is but a new number with the same song. Don't be fooled.

To view a detailed legal/policy analysis of ABX2-15, please click on the following links: Executive summary and indexMemo; and Appendix/Attachments.

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[1] Opinion Letter by Richard Wonderly MD and Attorney Theresa Schrempp, available athttps://choiceisanillusion.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/schrempp_wonderly_opn_ltr1.pdf
[2] Id.
[3] Id.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Memo to the California State Assemblymembers: Vote "No" on SB 128.

The original pdf version of this memo has an executive summary and index, which can be viewed here. The attachments can be viewed here.

I. INTRODUCTION.

I am an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal.[1] Our law is based on a similar law in Oregon. Both laws are similar to the proposed California bill, SB 128.[2] 

Enactment of SB 128 will create new paths of elder abuse. “Eligible” patients will include people with years, even decades, to live.  

I urge you to reject this measure. Do not make Washington’s and Oregon’s mistake.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

California's Prohibition Against Assisted Suicide Is Constitutional

Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

A California trial court has upheld the constitutionality of that state's criminal statute prohibiting assisted suicide, which states:
Every person who deliberately aids, or advises, or encourages another to commit suicide, is guilty of a felony.
Penal Code § 401

The court's reasoning is contained in a 19 page "Ruling on Demurrer," filed on July 24, 2015. The ruling uses the term, "Aid in Dying" to mean physician-assisted suicide.  The term also means euthanasia. The court states in part:
Since "Aid in Dying" is quicker and less expensive, there is a much greater potential for its abuse, e.g,, greedy heirs-in-waiting, cost containment strategies, √≠mpulse decision-making, etc. Moreover, since it can be employed earlier in the dying process, there is a substantial risk that in many cases, it may bring about a patently premature death. For example, consider that a terminally ill patient, not in pain but facing death within the next six months, may opt for “Aid in Dying”' instead of working through what might have been just a transitory period of depression. Further, "Aid in Dying" creates the possible scenario of someone taking his life based upon an erroneous diagnosis of a terminal illness illness, which was, in fact, a mis-diagnosis that could have been brought to light by the passage of time. After all, doctors are not infallible.