Saturday, August 29, 2015

ABX2-15 Talking Points

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA


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.


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."
  • Once the lethal dose is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight. Not even a witness is required when the lethal dose is administered. If the patient struggled, who would know? (memo, pp. 6-7).
  •  The death certificate is required to be falsified to reflect a natural death. (memo, pp. 7-9). The significance is a lack of transparency and an inability to prosecute for murder even in a case of outright murder for the money. Id.  

 2. ABX2-15 Encourages People With Years to Live to Throw Away Their Lives
  • In Oregon, which has a similar law, "terminal" persons include young adults with chronic conditions such as insulin dependent diabetes and chronic lower respiratory disease. (Memo, p. 10-11).  Such persons, with appropriate medical care, can have years, even decades, to live. See Schrempp/Wonderly opinion letter  
  •  ABX2-15, which encourages people with a bad prognosis to kill themselves, encourages people with years to live, to throw away their lives. 

 3.  ABX2-15 Allows Healthcare Providers to Steer Patients to Suicide.
  • 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." (Schrempp/Wonderly opinion letter) 
  • In Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, patients are not only denied coverage for treatment, they are offered assisted suicide instead. Id. Well known cases are Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup. 
  • Oregon doctor, Kenneth Stevens, MD, puts it this way:  The Oregon Health Plan will "pay for you . . . to die, but not to live." (Memo, pp. 13-14).  This same result is allowed under ABX2-15.  Id. 

 4.  ABX2-15 Sends a Message to Young People That Suicide Is the Answer to Life's Problems.
In Oregon, other (conventional) suicides have increased with the legalization of assisted suicide.  (Memo, p. 19-20) .  This is consistent with a suicide contagion in which legalizing and normalizing physician-assisted suicide encouraged other suicides. Id.

5.  Witnessing the Legal Assisted Suicide of a Close Friend or Family Member can be Traumatic (to the point of PTSD).  (Memo, pp. 18).