A new bill introduced into the Georgia Senate would allow those with terminal illnesses to end their own lives. Under SB 291, also known as the “Death with Dignity Act,” patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live could request lethal medication from their physician. The bill would require patients to take the medication themselves, and two physicians would have to provide clearance before the medication would be administered. Under the state’s current assisted-suicide law, it is a felony for physicians to provide such aid-in-dying “medication” to their patients.
The bill is sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson. “For people suffering, it would ease their pain and make that transition easier,” said Henson. “I think it’s common sense.” With this argument, Henson displays the misguided sense of compassion that is so prevalent with euthanasia advocates. Studies show that assisted suicide is often motivated by depression – not pain – and many vulnerable victims are pressured or coerced into killing themselves. While these right-to-die laws often contain safeguards to protect against abuses, it isn’t long before euthanasia advocates campaign for the loosening of restrictions, as is currently happening in Hawaii.
Pro-life advocates recognize the slippery slope that comes with assisted suicide laws. “We have all heard real-life stories of people who have outlived their diagnosis, and we believe that every life should be given every opportunity to live,” said Adam Pipkin, executive director of the conservative group Faith and Freedom coalition.
It’s expected that pro-life groups in the state will join together to rally against this new bill. When similar legislation was threatened in 2015, Georgia Right to Life Director of Bioethics, Bethany Walker, spoke out against the notion of “death with dignity” saying, “There’s nothing dignified about the despair that someone experiences if they think taking their life is their only option. A person should never feel that she will lose her value or dignity because of disease, illness, or dependency.”
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