Saturday, August 1, 2015

California 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.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Are Vermonters Being Pressured to Use Act 39?

From True Dignity Vermont

Around one in five patients who choose euthanasia in the Netherlands acts under pressure from family members, according to a leading expert on the ethics of assisted dying, as reported last week in Dutch News:

According to the report, Professor Theo Boer, who teaches ethics at Groningen’s Protestant Theological University and has for nine years served as a member of one of five review committees that assess every euthanasia case, said, “Sometimes it’s the family who go to the doctor. Other times it’s the patient saying they don’t want their family to suffer. And you hear anecdotally of families saying: ‘Mum, there’s always euthanasia.’”

Here in Vermont, where physician-assisted suicide has been legal for just two years, cases of pressure are already starting to emerge, and it isn’t always family members providing the pressure. True Dignity has spoken with the family of a 90-year-old Medicaid patient who felt pressured by caregivers in the facility where she was admitted for recovery from a fall. The patient did not have a terminal diagnosis.

According to Beth Neill, clinicians at the Berlin Health and Rehab Center informed her mother at regular intervals during her 4-month stay there that she had a “right” to use Act 39, and that, “She didn’t even have to discuss it with her family.” It was the act of repeatedly bringing up Act 39 as a health care “option” that caused her mother to feel pressure, and not overt efforts by clinicians to convince her to request the lethal prescription, Neill said. However, she said her mother made it clear she wanted nothing to do with Act 39 and was disturbed that staff re-introduced the topic repeatedly.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Washington DC: "No" on B21-38.

Below please find the executive summary to my submission against the DC assisted suicide/euthanasia bill. To view the entire submission and its attachments, please click here and here.


B21-38 is promoted as assuring patient choice and control, which is false.  Points addressed by this memo include:

  • There is a complete lack of oversight when the lethal dose is administered (even if the patient struggled, who would know?) 
  • The bill requires falsification of the death certificate to reflect a natural death.  The significance is a lack of transparency and an inability to prosecute even in a case of outright murder.
  • B21-38 will likely legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia for young adults with chronic conditions such as diabetes. 

Even if you like the concept of assisted suicide and euthanasia, B21-38 is the wrong bill.

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Thank you to everyone who donated and helped me to get this done. Please consider a generous donation to continue to make this work possible. Thank you again.

Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA
Law Offices of Margaret K. Dore, P.S
Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation.
1001 4th Avenue, Suite 4400
Seattle, WA 98154

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Laws allowing assisted suicide can have far-reaching impact

The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: July 20, 2015

AN effort to legalize “assisted suicide” in California has been put on hold. The rationales that caused California lawmakers to rethink the proposal deserve attention elsewhere.

This is especially true of arguments put forth by Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, a psychiatrist who is director of the Program in Medical Ethics at the University of California Irvine. Proponents of assisted suicide portray it as a humane solution for people in the last stages of painful, debilitating, terminal illnesses. But in a letter sent to California lawmakers, Kheriaty demonstrated that such laws can lead to death for a far wider, and often healthier, population.