Close to Home: Let's think twice about physician assisted suicide
Printed 1/2/2015, Santa Rosa Press Democrat
In early October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the End of Life Option Act, legalizing physician-assisted suicide in California.
The law, which failed to pass out of the Assembly committee during its regular session, was furtively introduced during a special session designed to address Medicare costs.
Over the objections of dozens of different religious, professional, and citizen advocacy groups, the state Senate passed it, and Brown signed it.
The national pro-life community views this as an ominous setback. More than half the states have already entertained bills to legalize assisted suicide.
“If it becomes the law in California, that’s going to be very, very significant nationally,” said George Eighmey, vice president of Death With Dignity.
According to one Gallup poll, 70 percent of Americans favor the idea of assisted suicide.
Pro-lifers understand that these numbers are driven by the compassion of voters, who, naturally enough, want to help all people face death without fear of undue pain or the loss of dignity. They often fail to consider, however, that medical advances have increasingly made “death with dignity” available to all, whereas physician-assisted suicide opens a Pandora’s box filled with many dark, unintended consequences for society.
Foremost among these is the transformation of the patient/physician relationship.
In a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, members of the American College of Physicians wrote, “We are deeply sympathetic to the concerns and fears that patients and their families have at the end of life. However, (physician-assisted suicide) is not the answer.”