Physician-Assisted Suicide (PAS)
History In Connecticut & Action Alert
In public hearings sponsored by the Public Health Committee, we defeated two physician assisted suicide bills — HB6645 in 2013 and HB5326 in 2014.
Email letters and testimonies by members of the Connecticut Right to Life Corporation, the Gospel of Life Society, our Legislative Committee, and our alliances played a key role. Also important was the sharing of vital information opposing assisted suicide, most of which is now stored on this Web site and includes
1) Medical statements opposing suicide from the AMA, Sloan Kettering and other top medical institutions involved in treating terminal cancer patients on a daily basis http://connrlc.org/?page_id=233
2) Details on the slippery slope (of voluntary assisted suicide to involuntary euthanasia) across the globe http://connrlc.org/?page_id=940 and
3) CDC statistics on the increased suicides of teens from 15-24 years in Oregon after a similar bill was passed there.
We asked all members of the CT Right to Life Corp., Gospel of Life Society, and our alliances to attend the hearings for the 2013 and 2014 bills and to write their legislators asking that they oppose assisted suicide on their behalf. Many did that and did attend to fill the halls of the Legislative Building with their enthusiasm, information, and white stickers. We made a good showing!
Previously in 2013, two bills, were presented on Physician Assisted Suicide (S.B. 48) introduced by Sen. Ed Meyer (D-12 – North Branford) and Death with Dignity (HB 6217) introduced by Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield (D-94 – Hamden/New Haven).
Any of the above bills would have changed Connecticut law to allow Physician Assisted Suicide.
Senator Michael McLachlin (R-24 – Danbury) introduced Penalty for Assisted Suicide (SB 229) to make Physician Assisted Suicide a felony.
Assisted suicide is when a person provides the means and/or information for another person to commit suicide. When a physician is involved, it is physician-assisted suicide (PAS). In the bills presented to legalize PAS, the role of the physician is surprisingly minimal. All the physician would do is prescribe the lethal dose (which typically comes in the form of pills to be swallowed). The patient, who is usually a hospice patient living at home, may fill the prescription at any time and take the dose at any time. There is no requirement that the physician be available at the time of death. These bills would:
For more information:
See the subpages under the Phyiscian Assisted Suicide Tab. We expect promoters of assisted suicide to return in 2015 with another attempt to pass a suicide bill or an attempt to pass a bill that enables palliative care to include euthanasia.
Euthanasia is the involuntary murder of a patient without the patient’s consent by withholding something needed to live such as high blood pressure medicine, insulin, antibiotics, or the withholding of food and water when a patient cannot feed themselves as after a stroke. It might also involve dehydrating a patient and/or providing an overdose.
Patients most vulnerable to this are those who are terminal,
chronically ill, become unconscious, or are elderly or disabled
AND who have signed a Living Will, which is an advance directive,
with DNR (do not resuscitate) instructions.
The Living Will is distributed by most hospitals by government law. The DNR instructions in the living will may be interpreted loosely to mean do not provide medicine, food and water, etc.
For this reason, we recommend patients find alternatives to the living will which do not carry to the same risks. The best explanations can be found on the American Life League site and they offer a danger-free alternative document to the Living Will, called the Loving Will. Read about it here http://www.all.org/article/index/id/MjQ5NA Priests for Life also provide information and an alternative advanced directive, see http://www.priestsforlife.org/euthanasia/livingwill.htm .
ACTION ALERT: Please start writing your legislators now and ask them to oppose any new form of a Physician Assisted Suicide bill or pain management bill that enables euthanasia. Continue to do this through 2016. Promoters of this year’s bill were surprised and angry to have been defeated two years in a row. They said they would be back in 2015. Keep writing. Use the material on this site – it is put here for your use. Thank you!