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Legalized Murder, Inc., is on the horizon

by Chris Carlson
| June 24, 2010 9:00 PM

Look out, Idaho. The proponents of legalizing physician assisted suicide are headed this way!

Having renamed themselves "Compassion & Choices," the old Hemlock Society is neither about true compassion nor do they disclose that someone else in their scheme of things can make the choice for you regarding a premature assisted exit.

This pernicious movement is in reality all about getting the government into the business of incentivizing folks with six months or less left to live to have the option of terminating their lives and allows a doctor to prescribe the lethal concoction to make it happen. The fact that this changes the historical role of a doctor to do no harm is irrelevant to these purveyors of premature death.

Despite having lost their case for changing the thrust of law, which has as its fundamental basis the goal of protecting life, especially the weak, the elderly, the physically and mentally challenged, before the Connecticut and New Hampshire Legislatures as well as the Canadian Parliament, the group thinks it can bamboozle Idahoans.

Having won a ballot measure in 2008 in next door Washington, and having secured a favorable court ruling in neighboring Montana, the renamed Hemlock Society thinks it can add Idaho and thus have the entire Northwest (Oregon passed the law 10 years ago) in the fold.

If you think I'm passionately against this you're correct. In November 2005 I was given the news I had terminal cancer and had six months or less to live. M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, the nation's premier medical complex for treating my rare form of cancer, refused to see me to provide a second opinion. It was considered hopeless.

Yet I'm still here and through the miracles of modern medicine am in reasonably good shape. I've seen my two grandchildren born in recent years, still write, and fly fish. Had the law been in effect where I then lived, I could have invoked it and opted out. Why, one has to ask himself, should the state be in the business of encouraging one to off themselves? The answer is they shouldn't.

Kathryn Tucker, national director of legal affairs, is bringing C & C's euphemistic bilgewater about a so-called right to more aggressive pain management, an expanded choice of end-of-life options (read suicide), and more protection for end-of-life choices, to Coeur d'Alene on June 26 at 1 p.m. at the Unity Church.

Here are some things she won't tell you but should be questioned about:

1. The state of palliative care is now so advanced that almost all doctors concur in saying that relieving pain is not an issue. The issue is one of personal control, not of pain management.

2. The Washington law mandates, despite the presence of a lethal dose of drugs in one's stomach, that the physician signing the death certificate MUST list the underlying disease as the cause of death, not death by suicide.

3. They call this a matter of choice, but under the Washington law someone else, particularly if they have power of attorney, can make the choice for you, thus opening the door to real, not probable, elder abuse.

4. While they claim safeguards are in place and two doctors have to sign off on the patient's desire, no doctor or medical person has to be present at the time one takes the lethal cocktail.

5. A desire to end one's life has always been seen as a sign of depression and possible mental illness (by nature we all want to live - breathing is pretty natural to us), yet there is no mandate for a psychiatric evaluation, only an option.

6. "Not Dead Yet" and other organizations for the physically and mentally challenged as well as major minority organizations are all opposed to assisted suicide.

7. If one wants to kill themselves, they can do so. Most laws making it a crime have been stricken. So why get the state involved and involve doctors?

8. What happens if all doctors in a given area refuse to sign a prescription? Is mandatory participation by medical personnel, despite their personal beliefs, the next step?

Finally, let me leave you with a quote from Derek Humphrey, the aging co-founder of the Hemlock Society:

"Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide will inevitably prevail in our society because they make economic sense!" Think about that.

Chris Carlson, the founding partner of a Northwest-wide regional public affairs firm, was the volunteer statewide chair of the Citizens Against Assisted Suicide in the state of Washington in 2008. He and his wife now reside in Idaho.

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