Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Reject Connecticut Bill 88: Don't Let Yourselves or the People You Care About Become Sitting Ducks to Predators

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I am an attorney and president of Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia. I have personally appeared and testified against these practices in 20 US states and also internationally.[1]  

The proposed Connecticut Act, Raised Bill No. 88, seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined.[2] This will be on both a voluntary and involuntary basis.

The Act is based on similar acts in Oregon and Washington State. I urge you to protect yourselves and the people you care about. Vote “No” to reject Raised Bill No. 88. 


A. Physician-Assisted Suicide, Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

The Act does not define physician-assisted suicide, assisted suicide or euthanasia.[3] Per the American Medical Association, “physician-assisted suicide” occurs when a physician “facilitates a patient’s death by providing the necessary means and/or information to enable the patient to perform the life-ending act.”[4] For example:

[T]he physician provides sleeping pills and information about the lethal dose, while aware that the patient may commit suicide.[5]

“Assisted suicide” is a general term in which the assisting person is not necessarily a physician. “Euthanasia” is the administration of a lethal agent by another person.[6] 

B. Aid in Dying

“Aid in dying” has been a euphemism for assisted suicide and euthanasia since at least 1992.[7] The proposed act defines aid in dying as follows: 

“Aid in dying" means the medical practice of a physician prescribing medication to a qualified patient who is terminally ill, which medication a qualified patient may self-administer to bring about his or her death. (Emphasis added).[8]

Note that per this definition, self-administration is allowed, but not mandated. 

C. Withholding or Withdrawing Treatment

Withholding or withdrawing treatment (“pulling the plug”) is not euthanasia if the purpose is to remove burdensome treatment, as opposed to an intent to kill the patient. More importantly, the individual will not necessarily die. Consider this quote from Washington State regarding a man removed from a ventilator:

[I]nstead of dying as expected, [he] slowly began to get better.[9]


A. Overview

The Act has an application process to obtain the lethal dose. Once the lethal dose is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight. No doctor, not even a witness, is required to be present at the death.  

Resulting death will be reported as natural on the patient’s death certificate. Reports issued by the Department of Public Health will not contain identifying information of any patient or health care provider[10]. Any data collected by the Department will not be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.[11]

B. “Eligible” Persons May Have Years or Decades to Live

The Act applies to persons with a “terminal illness,” meaning those predicted to have less than six months to live.[12] Such persons may in fact have years or decades to live. This is true based on the Oregon and Washington experience with their similar Acts, and common knowledge that predictions of life expectancy can be wrong, sometimes way wrong.[13]

Patients may also have years or decades to live because treatment can lead to recovery. A well known example is Jeanette Hall. In 2000, she made a settled decision to use Oregon’s Act. Her doctor convinced her to be treated for cancer instead, such that she is alive today. In a recent declaration, she states:

It has now been 21 years since my diagnosis. If [my doctor] had believed in assisted suicide, I would be dead.[14]

C. Assisting Persons Can Have an Agenda

Persons assisting a suicide or euthanasia can have an agenda. Consider Tammy Sawyer, trustee for Thomas Middleton in Oregon. Two days after his death by legal assisted suicide, she sold his home and deposited the proceeds into bank accounts for her own benefit.[15] Consider also Graham Morant, convicted of counseling his wife to kill herself in Australia, to get the life insurance. The Court found:

[Y]ou counselled and aided your wife to kill herself because you wanted ... the 1.4 million.[16]

Medical professionals too can have an agenda. New York physician, Michael Swango, got a thrill from killing his patients.[17] Consider also Harold Shipman, a doctor in the UK, who not only killed his patients, but stole from them and in one case made himself a beneficiary of the patient’s will.[18]

D. Even if the Patient Struggled, Who Would Know?

The Act has a formal application process to obtain the lethal dose[19]. Once the lethal dose is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight.[20] No witness, not even a doctor, is required to be present at the death.[21]

In addition, the drugs used are water or alcohol soluble, such that they can be injected into a sleeping or restrained person without consent.[22] Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director for the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, puts it this way:

With assisted suicide laws in Washington and  Oregon [and with the proposed Connecticut Act], perpetrators can ... take a “legal” route, by getting an elder to sign a lethal dose request. Once the prescription is filled, there is no supervision over administration. Even if the patient struggled, “who would know?” (Emphasis added).[23]

E. The Act Allows Euthanasia as Traditionally Defined

1. Self-administration is not required

The Act repeatedly describes the lethal dose as being self-administered.[24] There is no language, however, that self-administration is required.[25]

2. The lethal dose is “medication”

The proposed Act repeatedly refers to the lethal dose as “medication” to end a patient’s life.[26] The lethal dose is also a prescription drug (or drugs). Generally accepted medical practice allows doctors and family members to administer prescription drugs to a patient.[27] If the medication/prescription drug administered is a lethal dose, this is euthanasia as traditionally defined. 

3. The Americans With Disability Act would override any prohibition of euthanasia

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) is a US federal civil rights law “that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in every day activities, including medical services.”[28] Here, the proposed Act refers to the lethal dose as a medication to be prescribed, thereby rendering it a medical service. 

Per the ADA, medical care providers are required “to make their services available in an accessible manner.”[29] This includes:

reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures when necessary to make health care services fully available to individuals with disabilities, unless the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the services ....[30]

Per the proposed Act, the fundamental nature of the services is the provision of a lethal dose of medication to end a patient’s life. If, for the purpose of argument, the proposed Act can be read as requiring self-administration, the ADA would nonetheless require providers to make a reasonable modification for individuals unable to self-administer. For example, by providing the assistance of another person to administer the lethal dose. This would be euthanasia as traditionally defined.


The Act states:

(c) Any actions taken in accordance with sections 1 to 13, inclusive, of this act or sections 15 to 19, inclusive, of this act, do not, for any purposes, constitute suicide ... [or] homicide, .... (Emphasis added).[31]

The Act does not define accordance.[32] Dictionary definitions include “in the spirit of,” meaning “in thought or intention.”[33]

In other words, a mere thought or intention to comply with the Act is sufficient to prevent a death from being treated as suicide or homicide. If enacted, actions taken in accordance with the Act will not constitute suicide or homicide as a matter of law.


Connecticut requires the manner of a person’s death to be reported as one of six categories, five of which are substantive: (1) homicide; (2) suicide; (3) accidental; (4) natural; and (5) therapeutic complication.[34] The sixth category is “undetermined.”[35]

 As noted in the preceding section, a death occurring in accordance with the Act will not constitute suicide or homicide as a matter of law. The death will also not be due to a therapeutic complication or accident due its having been an intended event. This leaves “natural” as the only remaining substantive cause of death. The official legal manner of death will be natural as a matter of law.


Per a 2005 article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, there was a public inquiry regarding Dr. Shipman’s conduct, which determined that he had “killed at least 250 of his patients over 23 years.”[36] The inquiry also found:

that by issuing death certificates stating natural causes, the serial killer [Shipman] was able to evade investigation by coroners. (Emphasis added).[37]

Per a subsequent article in 2015, proposed reforms included having a medical examiner review death certificates, so as to improve patient safety[38]. Instead, the proposed Act moves in the opposite direction to require that deaths be reported as natural. If enacted, family members and other persons will be able to kill under mandatory legal cover. 


Connecticut Code Section 45a-447 does not allow a person guilty of killing another person (the victim) to inherit from that person.[39] Deaths occurring in accordance with the Act, however, are natural as a matter of law. More to the point, straight up perpetrators will be allowed to inherit from a victim so long as the killing is done pursuant to the Act. 


If passed into law, the proposed Act will apply to people predicted to have less than six months to live, some of whom will in fact have years or decades to live.  

Assisting persons can have an agenda, with more obvious reasons being inheritance and life insurance, but also, as in the case of Dr. Swango, the thrill of seeing someone die. The lack of required oversight at the death, coupled with the mandatory falsification of the death certificate and an otherwise near complete lack of transparency, will create a perfect crime in which perpetrators will be legally allowed to inherit. 

The Act’s passage will render people with money, meaning the middle class and above, sitting ducks to their heirs and other financial predators. Protect yourselves and the people you care about. Say “No” to Raised Bill 88.


[1]  For more information about me, please view my curriculum vitae attached in the appendix, at pages 1 though 4.

[2]  A copy of the Act is attached in the appendix, at pages 6 to 21.

[3]  Id.

[4]  AMA Code of Medical Ethics, Opinion 5.7, in the appendix at page 22.

[5]  Id.

[6]  AMA Code of Medical Ethics, Opinion 5.8, appendix page 23.

[7]  See, for example: Maria T. CeloCruz, “Aid-in-Dying: Should We Decriminalize Physician-Assisted Suicide and Physician-Committed Euthanasia?,” American Journal of Law and Medicine, 1992.  Abstract in the appendix, at page 24.

[8]  The Act, lines 4-7, attached in the appendix at page 5.

[9]  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?” The Seattle Weekly, 01/13/09, excerpts in the appendix at pages 25 to 27; quote at page 27.

[10]  The Act, lines 474-5.

[11]  Id., lines 476-479.

[12]  The Act states:

“Terminal illness” means the final stage of an incurable and irreversible medical condition that an attending physician anticipates, within reasonable medical judgment, will produce a patient’s death within six months if the progression of such condition follows its typical course. 

The Act, lines 85-89, in the appendix at page 8.

[13]  Cf. Jessica Firger, “12 million Americans misdiagnosed each year,” CBS NEWS, 04/17/14; and Nina Shapiro, “Terminal Uncertainty,” supra. Consider also, the “Affidavit of John Norton in Opposition to Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” attached in the appendix at pages 28 to 30.

[14]  Jeanette Hall Declaration, 11/30/21, attached in the appendix, at pages 31 to 32, ¶4.

[15]  “Sawyer Arraigned on State Fraud Charges,” KTVZ.COM, 09/07/11, in the appendix at page 33. 

[16]  R v Morant [2018], QSC 251, Order dated 11/02/18, https://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2018/QSC18-251.pdf , excerpts attached in the appendix, at pages 34 to 35.

[17]  Charlie Leduff, “Prosecutors Say Doctor Killed to Feel a Thrill,” The New York Times, 09/07/00, excerpts in the appendix, at pages 36 to 38.

[18]  David Batty, “Q & A: Harold Shipman,” The Guardian, 08/25/05, attached in the appendix, at pages 39 to 41.  Also available at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/aug/25/health.shipman

[19]  See the proposed Act, in the appendix, at pages 5 through 21.

[20]  Id.

[21]  Id.

[22]  The drugs used have included Secobarbital, Pentobarbital and Phenobarbital, which are water or alcohol soluble. 

[23]  Alex Schadenberg, Letter to the Editor, “Elder abuse a growing problem,” The Advocate, Official Publication of the Idaho State Bar, October 2010.

[24]  The proposed Act, in the appendix at pages 5 to 21, at lines 6, 44, 48, 120, 143, 215, 304, 402 and 434.

[25]  See the proposed Act, at pages 5 to 21.

[26]  Id.

[27]  See for example, Declaration of Kenneth Stevens, MD, stating:

Generally accepted medical practice allows a doctor, or a person acting under the direction of a doctor, to administer prescription drugs to a patient. Common examples of persons acting under the direction of a doctor include: nurses and other healthcare professionals who act under the direction of a doctor to administer drugs in a hospital setting; ... and adult children who act under the direction of a doctor to administer drugs to their parents in a home setting. (Emphasis added).

Attached in the appendix, at pages 42 to 44, quote at 44.

[28]  “Americans with Disabilities Act: Access to Medical Care for Individuals with Mobility Disabilities,” July 2010, Part I. Full document available at https://www.ada.gov/medcare_mobility_t.a/medcare_ta.htm

[29]  Id.

[30]  Id.

[31]  The proposed Act, in the appendix at page 18, Section 14(c), lines 387 to 390.

[32]  See the Act in its entirety, attached in the appendix at pages 5 to 21.

[33]  See definitions in the appendix at pages 45 and 46.

[34]  State of Connecticut, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, “Frequently Asked Questions,” attached in the appendix, at page 47. 

[35]  Id.

[36]  David Batty, supra, attached in the appendix at pages 39 to 41.

[37]  Id., at page 41.

[38]  Press Association, “Death Certificate Reform Delays ‘Incomprehensible,’” The Guardian, January 21, 2015, in the appendix at pages 48 to 49.

[39]  Excerpt attached in the appendix at page 50.