Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Colorado Assisted Suicide Bills Are a Recipe for Elder Abuse


Dore: "Even if you like the concept of assisted suicide and euthanasia, the proposed Colorado bills have it all wrong."

Contact: Margaret Dore (206) 697-1217

Denver, CO  --  Attorney Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, which has fought assisted suicide legalization efforts in many states and now Colorado, made the following statement in connection with legislative hearings being held today and tomorrow on bills seeking to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in that state. 

"The bills, SB 16-025 and HB 16-1054, seek to legalize physician-assisted suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined," said Dore. "The bills are described as 'aid in dying,' but their reach is not limited to dying people. 'Eligible' persons may have years, even decades, to live."

Dore said, "The bills are a recipe for elder abuse. The patient's heir, who will financially benefit from the patient's death, is allowed to actively participate in signing the patient up for the lethal dose. There is no oversight over administration."  Dore elaborated, "No doctor, not even a witness, is required to be present at the death. Even if the patient struggled, who would know? The bills create the perfect crime." 

"It gets worse," said Dore.  "The bills require the death certificate to be falsified to reflect a death by a terminal illness.  The significance is a loss of transparency as to the true cause of death and an inability to prosecute in the case of an outright murder for the money; the death, as a matter of law is a terminal illness."  

The Colorado bills seek to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia for people who are "terminal," which is defined as a doctor's prediction of less than six months to live. In real life, such persons can have years, even decades, to live.

"Doctors can be wrong about life expectancy, sometimes way wrong," Dore said. "This is due to actual mistakes: They evaluated another patient's test results. More typically, however, doctors are wrong because predicting life expectancy is not an exact science. A few years ago, I was met at the airport by a man who at age 18 had been diagnosed with ALS and given 3 to 5 years to live, at which time he was predicted to die by paralysis. The diagnosis had been confirmed by the Mayo Clinic. When he met me at the airport, he was 74 years old. The disease progression had stopped on its own."

"If the Colorado bills become law, there will be new lethal paths of elder abuse, which will be legally sanctioned and hidden from view," said Dore. "People with years, even decades to live, will be encouraged to throw away their lives. Even if you like the concept of assisted suicide and euthanasia, the proposed Colorado bills have it all wrong."

For back up documentation, please see below:.

1. Memo from Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA, to the Colorado Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee and to the Colorado House Judiciary Committee, January 30, 2016, available here: and here:

2.  Margaret K. Dore, "'Death with Dignity': What Do We Advise Our Clients?," King County Bar Association, Bar Bulletin, May 2009,

3.  Nina Shapiro, "Terminal Uncertainty: Washington's new "Death With Dignity" law allows doctors to help people commit suicide-once they've determined that the patient has only six months to live. But what if they're wrong?" Seattle Weekly, 01/14/09, available at