Why Choice is an Illusion?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tennessee Decision Upholding Assisted Suicide Law.

Click here to view the Tennesee Chancery Court decision upholding criminal statute prohibiting assisted suicide, entered yesterday, September 29, 2015.

Judge rules against legalizing assisted suicide in Tennessee


Lucas L. Johnson II, Associated Press, and Stacey Barchenger, The Tennessean6:12 p.m. CDT September 29, 2015

A former Democratic gubernatorial candidate who is terminally ill cannot die by assisted suicide, a judge ruled Tuesday, saying doctors engaging in such a practice are committing "criminal conduct."

John Jay Hooker has terminal cancer and has doctors who have expressed a willingness to prescribe him a lethal dosage of painkillers.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Why California's ABX2-15 Must be Vetoed.

ABX2-15 seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in California. The bill is a recipe for elder abuse in which a "qualifying" individual may be legally murdered for the money. For more detail, see this memorandum and its attachments.  


1. ABX2-15 applies to people with a "terminal disease," which is defined as having a medical prognosis of less than six months to live. (Memo, p.9). Such persons can, in fact, have years, even decades, to live. The more obvious reasons being misdiagnosis and the fact that predicting life expectancy is not an exact science. (Id., pp. 11-12). Doctors can sometimes be widely wrong. (Id.).

2. In Oregon, which has a nearly identical definition of “terminal disease,” eligible persons include young adults with chronic conditions such as insulin dependent diabetes. (Memo, p. 9-11). Such persons, with appropriate medical care, can have years, even decades, to live. 

3. ABX2-15 allows the patient's heir, who will financially benefit from his/her death, to actively participate in signing the patient up for the lethal dose. (Memo, p. 7). This is an extreme conflict of interest.

4. 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 protested or even struggled against administration, who would know? (Memo, pp. 8-9).

5. Assisted suicide can be traumatic for family members as well as patients. (Memo., pp. 12-13)

6. If California follows Washington State, the death certificate is required to be falsified to reflect a natural death. (Memo, pp. 16-18). 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. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

California: Contact the Governor now to stop assisted suicide/euthanasia.

Outright Lies to Trusting Legislators Gets California Bill to Governor's Desk.  Tell Jerry Brown to Veto ABX2-15 Now! 

  • Call 916-445-2841!
  • Fax 916-558-3160 
  • Use this form to send an e-mail to Governor Brown:  https://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php  (US Mail will be too slow)

On Friday, September 11th, ABX2-15 passed the Senate just weeks after its initial introduction during a special session called for another purpose. During its short and expedited life, proponents ran roughshod on the facts to induce busy legislators to vote yes. This was evident during the final floor debate in the Senate where proponents repeatedly stated or implied the following, which are not true:

1.  That the bill is limited to people who are actively dying and in pain. The bill doesn't say this anywhere. The bill, instead, applies to people with a "terminal disease" defined as having a prediction of less than six months to live. (Memo, pp.9 -12). Such persons can, in fact, have years, even decades, to live.  (Id.) In Oregon, which has a nearly identical definition, "eligible" persons include young adults with chronic conditions such as insulin dependent diabetes. (Id).

2.  That the bill is "one of the strongest bills regarding patient protections." The bill, however, doesn't even require a witness when the lethal dose is administered.[1] If the patient protested or struggled, who would know?[2] In addition, the bill's various legal "requirements" are not actually "required." This is because participants are merely held to a "good faith" standard.[3] This standard is not defined in the bill, but common meanings include that participants need not comply with legal technicalities when they have honest intent.  See, for example, this legal dictionary definition:
[Good faith means] honest intent to act without taking an unfair advantage over another person or to fufill a promise to act, even when some legal technicality is not fulfilled.  (Emphasis added).[4] 
For these and other reasons, tell Jerry Brown to veto ABX2-15. For more information, see: Dore letter discussing why the Baker amendments did not fix the bill's problemsDore memo why the financial cost of ABX2-15 could be "enormous"; and a formal memo regarding the bill generally, including "key points," an index, aformal memo and an appendix.

* * *
[1]  See ABX2-15 in its entirety.
[2]  Id.
[3]  ABX2-15, Sections 443.19(d), 443.14(b), 443.14(d)(1) and 443.15(c).
[4]  "Hill" citation at http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/good+faith

Friday, September 11, 2015

Governor Brown must veto assisted suicide legislation.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                           
September 11, 2015        

Contact: Margaret Dore

Sacramento, CA -- In light of today's final passage of assisted suicide legislation by the California State Senate, a national expert on assisted suicide and euthanasia made the following comments. 

"The legislation passed today is a wolf in sheep's clothing," said Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusionregarding ABX2-15, which seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide (and euthanasia) in California. "The bill is deceptively written to make it look as if there are substantial patient protections; there are not. The bill is sold as giving people choice and control at the end of life: Instead, it's stacked against the patient and applies to people with years, even decades, to live."

"In my law practice, I started out working in guardianships, wills and probate, and saw abuse of all kinds, especially where there was money involved (where there's a will, there are heirs)," Dore explained. "ABX2-15 sets up the perfect crime: your heir can actively participate in signing you up for the lethal dose and once the lethal dose is in the home, there's no oversight --not even a witness is required. If you resisted or even struggled, who would know?"

Dore concluded, "The ball is now in the governor's court to protect the people of California by vetoing ABX2-15. As a lawyer and a former attorney general, Jerry Brown has the expertise to see the bill for what it really is.  He has all the right reasons to veto this deceptive and unsafe legislation.

For documentation, see www.choiceillusion.org and www.californiaagainstassistedsuicide.org

Thursday, September 10, 2015

California Assisted Suicide Bill Narrowly Passes Assembly.


For the original print version, please click here.

September 9, 2015

Contact: Margaret Dore

Sacramento, CA – In light of today’s narrow passage of assisted suicide legislation by the California State Assembly, a national expert on assisted suicide and euthanasia points out a fundamental flaw with today’s floor debate.

“The assemblymembers didn’t focus on the bill’s language,” said Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, regarding ABX2-15, which is modeled on similar laws in Oregon and Washington State.  "The bill is sold as giving people choice and control at the end of life. Yet the bill’s language is stacked against the patient and applies to people with years, even decades, to live.”

Carolyn McMurray:"Not everyone has family members to protect them."

Dear Assemblymembers:

My husband and I recently moved from Vermont because we fear growing old in a state with legal assisted suicide.

Will Johnston, MD: "[My] young adult patient became actively suicidal after watching a Brittany Maynard video.”

Dear Assemblymembers:

I am a doctor whose young adult patient became actively suicidal after watching a  Brittany Maynard video.

I urge you to vote against legalizing assisted suicide so as to not encourage other young adults to seek this path.  

In the first week of December 2014, a mother brought in her twenty year old son for an emergency appointment.  She had told me that he had been acting oddly and talking about death.

Oregon Doctor Kenneth Stevens: "Vote against ABX2-15, in order to save people’s lives.”

Dear Assemblymembers:

I have been a cancer doctor in Oregon for 49 years.  I am opposed to legalized assisted suicide.

It encourages people to prematurely throw away their lives. The California bill ABX-15 is modeled after the Oregon law. It applies to people predicted to have less than six months to live.  That does not necessarily mean that they are dying.

Fifteen years ago I had a patient with inoperable anal cancer who wanted assisted suicide for herself, and who was refusing radiation and chemotherapy.  Because she was refusing treatment she was eligible for assisted suicide.  I encouraged her to be treated, which she later agreed to, and now she is very alive and happy 15 years later.

Dore: "Legal assisted-suicide can be traumatic for patients and tear families apart”

Dear Assemblymembers:

I am a lawyer in Washington State where assisted-suicide is legal. Our law is similar to a law in Oregon. Both laws are similar to ABX2-15, scheduled for hearing tomorrow.

I had two clients whose fathers signed up for assisted-suicide. In the first case, one side of the family wanted the father to take the lethal dose, while the other did not. The father spent the last months of his life caught in the middle and traumatized over whether or not he should kill himself. My client, his adult daughter, was also traumatized. The father did not take the lethal dose and died a natural death.

In the other case, it's not clear that administration of the lethal dose was voluntary. A man who was present told my client that the client’s father refused to take the lethal dose when it was delivered (“You’re not killing me. I’m going to bed”), but then he took it the next night when he was high on alcohol.

Legal assisted-suicide can be traumatic for patients and tear families apart.

Kate Kelly: “Doctors are already abusing the power they have."

Dear Assemblymembers:

Please vote "No"on ABX2-15 (assisted suicide/euthanasia). Doctors are already abusing the power they have.  This bill, which will give doctors even more power to medically kill patients, can only make a bad situation worse.

In 2009, my mother died after a young doctor encouraged my brother, who held power of attorney, to begin “comfort care.”  My mother, who was NOT DYING, had had a mild stroke.  She had been trying to speak and had indicated that she would like some water.  Instead, on the order of this doctor, she was medically killed  (starved and dehydrated, with massive doses of morphine).

In that same year, I published my mother’s story . Since then, I have been contacted by other adult children in the US and Canada whose parents were  involuntarily killed via starvation, dehydration and overdose..

These involuntary deaths of people who were not dying are not isolated incidents.

Elizabeth Poiana to California Assembly: "“Older people are no longer valued.”

Dear Assemblymembers:

I am a college student in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal.

My mother is a caregiver.  I also  work as a caregiver for typically older people.

I am writing to tell you about how older people are now at risk in Washington State, from doctors and hospitals. I will also talk about how attitudes about older people have changed for the worse.  This is especially true since our assisted-suicide law was passed in 2008.