New Hampshire Senate puts an end to pro-assisted suicide legislation — for now

assisted suicide, assisted death, euthanasia, euthanized

Legislation seeking to allow assisted suicide in New Hampshire reached an end last week after lawmakers in the Senate voted 17-7 to send the bill for further study, which reports say “essentially kills” the legislation.

House Bill 1283 would have permitted physician-assisted death to a terminally ill person who is mentally competent and projected to die within six months. There was no residency requirement for the bill, leading some lawmakers to express fear that the state would become a “death magnet.” Similar legislation has been considered multiple times in the state since 2010 and has failed each time, though this was the first year such legislation passed the House and moved on to the Senate.

Many gathered at the state Capitol building to lobby against the bill, including a physician who said the state needs better palliative care resources, not an easier way for people to end their lives. “We need to move the needle back towards more palliative care,” said Jonathan Eddinger, a cardiologist at the Catholic Medical Center. “[Support] people while they’re living, not facilitate their death, we need to not abandon them at the end of life.”

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Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Majority Leader, argued that there is no way to truly know when someone’s life will end naturally. “We all know that when we get these timelines from doctors — how many times they’re wrong. People live longer than what the doctor told them they’re going to live. So I’m concerned people are going to prematurely end their lives,” she said, adding, “I don’t think we want to put our stamp of approval on that.”

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester had also previously spoken out against potential assisted suicide legislation.

“For the Christian, the suffering that comes from illness and death is a way of being deeply united with the death and resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. We know that death is not the end; it is the doorway to eternal life,” read a 2022 document put forth by Bishop Peter Libasci. “There is never a situation where it is right to either assist in someone else’s suicide or to arrange for it on one’s own behalf.”

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