Friday, January 22, 2016

Assisted-suicide laws are a prescription for abuse

To the Editor:

I was glad to see the letter by Oregon doctor Kenneth Stevens, describing how legalizing assisted suicide in Oregon has led to steerage to suicide by the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid).  ("No assisted suicide," Jan. 7, 2016).  I write to highlight another problem with legalization -- elder abuse.

I am a former three-term state representative in New Hampshire.  In 2014, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted down a similar law.  The vote was an overwhelming 3-to-1 defeat, 219 to 66.

At that time, the House of Representatives was controlled by the Democrats.  Many representatives who initially thought that they were for the bill, became uncomfortable when they studied it further.

Contrary to promoting "choice" for older people, assisted-suicide laws are a prescription for abuse.  They empower heirs and other predators to pressure and abuse older people to cut short their lives.

This is especially an issue when the older person has money.  There is no assisted suicide bill that you can write to correct this huge problem.  Don't be fooled.

Nancy Elliott

Merrimack, New Hampshire
Post date: January 21, 2016