Human Rights

Ohio legislature passes bill to make assisted suicide a felony

Assisted suicide injection needle

In recent years Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, and Arizona have passed bills in order to try to lower the number of assisted suicides in their states. Ohio has became the fifth state to follow suit. On December 8, the Ohio Senate approved House Bill 470, which would make assisting a suicide a felony in the state.

Physician-assisted suicide in the United States is currently legal in California, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Since there is an increasing push to legalize suicide in many states, it’s encouraging to see states, like Ohio, working to make assisted suicide laws more restrictive.

The day of the vote, Jeremy Pelzer wrote for

State Sen. Bill Seitz, the Cincinnati Republican who authored HB 470, said the legislation mirrors Michigan’s 1998 ban on assisted suicide, which was passed in response to Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s well-publicized campaign to help more than 130 terminally ill patients end their own lives.

Seitz said he wasn’t aware of anyone in Ohio who has assisted or intends to assist in suicides.

Wendy J. Smith, who has worked in the medical field for over 30 years, previously highlighted for Live Action News the terribly slippery slope of physician-assisted suicide:

Historically, we have seen safeguards erode once [physician assisted suicide] is in place. The Netherlands is a prime example for us to examine. Several decades ago, in the 70s and 80s, PAS advocates in the Netherlands justified PAS by stating it would be limited to a number of terminally ill patients experiencing unbearable suffering.

Up until 2001, only adults had access to PAS (though it was still technically a crime), but in 2001, it was made legal, and the laws even allowed children 12-16 years old to have access to PAS with parental consent.

As of 2002, PAS is no longer limited to those with a terminal illness, but also includes psychological suffering. In individuals over the age of 70, PAS is permitted if they are “tired of living.”

It is important that states follow Ohio’s example and create similar initiatives to keep the United States from traveling down the physician-assisted suicide slippery slope. Initiatives like Ohio’s HB 470 prevent America from becoming like Belgium, where – according to the Huffington Post – “someone legally ending their own life is an everyday occurrence.”

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