Of course, the big news from the national voting last week was the stunning election of Donald Trump as president. But barely mentioned by the media except for its passage was Colorado’s Proposition 106 “End of Life Options Act initiative which won by a 65% to 35% popular vote. Now five states have formally legalized physician assisted suicide. Montana had a court ruling that state physician-assisted suicide is not “against public policy” but no law legalizing assisted suicide has been passed.
I remember going to Colorado about 20 years ago to speak against an assisted suicide bill in the state legislature. Enthusiasm was high and the assisted suicide bill was subsequently voted down in the legislature. But, as in other states including my own Missouri, the assisted suicide proponents never stopped pushing their agenda over and over again.
With their efforts often stymied in state legislatures after robust debate and testimony, well-funded groups like Compassion and Choices turn to the promotion of state initiatives. Colorado now joins Oregon and Washington State in legalizing assisted suicide by popular vote.
However, with groups like Compassion and Choices trying to normalize assisted suicide as just another valid medical decision, medical groups increasingly intimidated into neutrality and an almost entirely sympathetic mainstream media holding up Brittany Maynard as the ultimate poster child, the average person is easily persuaded to not look too closely at the reality of assisted suicide.
For example, here is just the title of the Colorado ballot measure. There is also a much longer ballot summary and a link to the full proposed law.
“Shall there be a change to the Colorado revised statutes to permit any mentally capable adult Colorado resident who has a medical prognosis of death by terminal illness within six months to receive a prescription from a willing licensed physician for medication that can be self-administered to bring about death; and in connection therewith, requiring two licensed physicians to confirm the medical prognosis, that the terminally-ill patient has received information about other care and treatment options, and that the patient is making a voluntary and informed decision in requesting the medication; requiring evaluation by a licensed mental health professional if either physician believes the patient may not be mentally capable; granting immunity from civil and criminal liability and professional discipline to any person who in good faith assists in providing access to or is present when a patient self-administers the medication; and establishing criminal penalties for persons who knowingly violate statutes relating to the request for the medication?”
But what might have happened if this alternative language was used?
Should Colorado change the Colorado revised statues to permit a licensed doctor of any specialty in conjunction with a similar doctor to write a prescription for a lethal overdose to cause death for any adult resident that the doctors expect to die within 6 months; require mental health evaluation only for the purpose of determining if the person is mentally capable to make the decision to end his or her life; grant immunity for the doctors and others from civil or criminal penalty as long as they claim “good faith” intentions; require that the death certificate falsely state the cause of death as a natural medical condition instead of the lethal overdose; prohibit life insurance policies from being affected by a request for a legal lethal overdose and prohibit public information about such lethal overdoses except a yearly statistical report as reported by the doctors involved? (Emphasis added)
Of course, we will never know.
But when we allow medical/legal protections and standards to be suspended for some suicidal people considered expendable based on an estimated prognosis and personal fear of even potential pain and/or dependence, we will inevitably see the pool of potential victims of medical termination expand and lethal injections accepted, as is already happening in Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland.
Just as bad, we will also be creating a class of medical serial terminators immune from any real oversight and accountability while penalizing ethical health care providers who refuse to participate or refer.
3 thoughts on “Oh, Colorado!”
Your source has done you a disservice. The promoters of assisted suicide have worn out their thesaurus attempting to imply that it is legal in Montana. Assisted suicide is a homicide in Montana. Our MT Supreme Court did ruled that if a doctor is charged with a homicide they might have a potential defense based on consent. The MT Supreme Court acknowledged it is a homicide in the ruling.
The Court did not address civil liabilities and they vacated the lower court’s claim that it was a constitutional right. Unlike Oregon no one in Montana has immunity from civil or criminal prosecution, death certificates are not legally falsified and investigations are not prohibited like in OR, WA and CA. Does that sound legal to you?
Perhaps the promoters are frustrated that even though they were the largest lobbying spender in Montana their Oregon model legalizing assisted suicide bills have been rejected in Montana in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
Your source has done the public a disservice. Their ordinary bait and switch campaign is demonstrated by their selling “must self-administer” then they do not provide in their legislation for an ordinary witness of the “self-administration”.
The difference is that a witness would honor individual rights and choices, without a witness it allows euthanasia. If the individual changed their mind no one would ever know. And we know that 30% do change their mind according to Oregon’s records
This omission eviscerates the flaunted safeguards putting the entire population at risk of exploitation by the medical-industrial-complex, organ traffickers and predatory heirs.
All of Oregon model laws/bills including DC and Colorado’s non transparent Prop 106 simply allows forced euthanasia. Welcome to the Oregon experience.
Mtaas dot org
Thank you for commenting. Actually, I was trying to make the point that physician-assisted suicide is NOT legal in Montana despite what Compassion and Choices and some media claim. The Montana situation has been complicated and often misunderstood so I tried to simplify it and use the source link to the Patients Rights Council link at http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/montana/ as a way for people to get the whole story about Montana.
I have been following the Montana situation since the Baxter v Montana decision in 2009 and I applaud your organization’s efforts in fighting assisted suicide.
And so another state takes the dive toward the Generation of Death.
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