New York's assisted suicide bills are deceptively written, stacked against the patient and a recipe for elder abuse. For a one page handout, click here. For more in depth information, click here
1. A. 10059 and S. 7579 seek to legalize “medical aid in dying,” a euphemism for assisted suicide and euthanasia. There is no requirement that eligible patients be dying.
2. Patients are instead required to have a prediction of less than six months to live. In real life, such predictions are often wrong.
3. Predictions are wrong due to misdiagnosis and because predicting life expectancy is an inexact science. See e.g., Jessica Firger, “12 million Americans misdiagnosed each year,” CBS NEWS, 4/17/14, at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/12-million-americans-misdiagnosed-each-year-study-says
4. The bills, if enacted, will encourage people with years, even decades, to live to throw away their lives.
5. The bills are sold as providing patients with choice and control. They are instead stacked against the patient and a recipe for elder abuse. Indeed, they allow the perfect crime. See below.
6. The bills allow someone else to speak for the patient during the lethal dose request process. The only requirement is that the speaking person be “familiar” with the patient’s manner of communicating, for example, that the patient speaks with a stutter.
7. Persons assisting a suicide can have their own agendas, for example, if they will financially gain from the death due to an inheritance.
8. Under the bills, there is no oversight at the death.No doctor, not even a witness is required to be present. This creates the opportunity for someone else to administer the lethal dose to the patient without his or her consent, and without anyone else knowing what happened.. The drugs used are water and alcohol soluble, such that they can be administered to a sleeping or restrained person without consent.
9. The bills require the death certificate to list a terminal illness as the cause of death. The significance is a legal inability to prosecute, even in the case of an outright murder for the money. The cause of death is a terminal illness as a matter of law.