On the heels of New York’s Reproductive Health Act, which allows for abortions at any time under reasons of the mother’s “health” — broadly defined to mean emotional, mental, physical, familial, etc., according to Roe v. Wade’s companion case, Doe v. Bolton — comes a new push to legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state.
According to the Associated Press, “The proposal before lawmakers would require two doctors to sign off on the use of life-ending medication. It has been proposed for years, without a vote.” The AP adds, “Supporters say the proposal is carefully crafted to prevent abuse while giving people with terminal illnesses the choice to die with dignity. Opponents worry such a law could be misused.”
No proposal can guarantee protection against abuses by family members or others who may pressure patients into choosing assisted suicide, or prevent a patient from choosing it based on reasons not related to a terminal condition. A previous Live Action News article by Cassy Fiano-Chesser noted, “Multiple… studies, including some published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the British Medical Journal, found that people pursue assisted suicide because they feel hopeless, are struggling with depression… are afraid they are a burden on their loved ones, or don’t have support. When these issues are addressed, the request for assisted suicide is often withdrawn.”
According to the same Live Action News article, “Studies show that assisted suicide increases the number of suicides. A 2015 study published in the Southern Medical Journal found that ‘legalising assisted suicide is associated with a 6.3 per cent increase in the total suicide rate – including both assisted and non-assisted suicides. For the over-65 age group, the increase is 14.5 per cent.'”
A study from New Zealand showed that many people don’t actually know what assisted suicide entails, mistakenly believing it includes removing life support or even Do Not Resuscitate orders.
Seven states and Washington, D.C. currently allow physician-assisted suicide.