Pennsylvanians for Human Life

Assisted Suicide

37 states, including Pennsylvania, have statutes prohibiting assisted suicide.

2 states and the District of Columbia may prohibit assisting suicide by common law.

6 states have no law specifically directed at assisting suicide.

3 states, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont, have statutes expressly authorizing physician-assisted suicide.

Source: NRLC Powell Center for Medical Ethics

Euthanasia / assisted suicide proponents were involved in writing the Health Care Bill. Source Link

Message to Washington: Oregon assisted suicide is NOT abuse free

Costly treatment - NO; Assisted suicide - YES

"The abandonment & cruelty of euthanasia"

“A Place for Mom” Blog, Featuring Joan Lunden, Pushes Assisted Suicide
by Wesley Smith

We have all heard the advertisements of A Place for Mom, in which former news star Joan Lunden pitches the business that helps families find assisted living facilities and other senior services.

Well, imagine my dismay to see the organization’s blog gushing over the assisted suicide advocacy group Compassion and Choices–in a column ostensibly about end of life planning–but which mostly instructs family members on how to find help accessing doctor-prescribed death for the elderly...

Read more

Unbeknownst to the vast majority of Americans, America has been on the path to euthanasia since the 1980's. Even in the 1970's legislators in several states were introducing legislation to make death an end of life "choice". Like the abortion "choice", coersion plays a major factor in the decision.

Rather than start with a history of pro-euthanasia legislation or court decisions, it is better to start on the personal level. How will the current crop of euthanasia laws euphemistically called "assisted suicide" legislation, likely affect individuals.

One state, Oregon will give us the likely scenario other states will probably follow. "Assisted suicide" was legalized in Oregon ten years ago. Here is some of the fallout:

In May 2008, 64-year-old retired school bus driver Barbara Wagner received bad news from her doctor. She found out that her cancer, which had been in remission for two years, had returned. Then, she got some good news. Her doctor gave her a prescription that would likely slow the cancer's growth and extend her life. She was relieved by the news and also by the fact that she had health care coverage through the Oregon Health Plan.

Ten Years of “Death with Dignity”
by Courtney S. Campbell

The Oregon Death with Dignity Act (ODDA), which permits physicians to write a prescription for lethal drugs to qualified terminally ill patients, has been in effect for a little over a decade. It has, from October 1997 to the present, been the only such statute until 2008 in the United States permitting what is variously called “physician-assisted suicide,” “physician aid in dying,” or “death with dignity” (the statute refers to the procedure as the ending of life in a “humane and dignified manner”).

The central stated purpose of the ODDA is to expand patient control over end-of-life choices. Before ODDA passed, it remained illegal to hasten death intentionally through the prescription of lethal drugs.

The ODDA aimed to end this ban on the grounds of patient self-determination and “choice.” They saw no principled difference between, on the one hand, refusing medical treatment in a way that would inevitably bring about death and, on the other, hastening death with a lethal drug.

The article Ten Years of “Death with Dignity” takes a look at the results of 10 years of the Death with Dignity act.
It didn't take long for her hopes to be dashed. Barbara Wagner was notified by letter that the Oregon Health Plan wouldn't cover her prescription. But the letter didn't leave it at that. It also notified her that, although it wouldn't cover her prescription, it would cover assisted suicide.

An article in The Eugene Oregon Register-Guard discovered the Oregon Health Plan routinely sends similar letters promoting lethal drugs for assisted suicide for patients deemed to have little chance to survive for more than five years. (as though five years of anyone's life were insignificant)

To read more about this incident visit: America's Suicidal Approach to Health Care by Rita L. Marker from The American Thinker More to follow.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Signs “Assisted Suicide” Bill

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has officially approved an “assisted suicide” measure which would allow nurses to sedate, dehydrate and starve depressed or confused individuals they consider to be “terminally ill”.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Patty Berg, a Democrat, passed the California Assembly Aug. 28, 2008, and the state Senate Aug. 20. It was signed by the governor October 2 The legislation, called the "Terminal Patients' Right to Know End of Life Options Act," or AB 2747, passed by a 42 to 34 vote. An Aug. 20 Senate vote of 21 to 17 ushered the measure to the governor's desk for signing.

Of course in truth, there is no way to assist suicide. The nurses would be killing patients who requested death and will probably eventually kill those who do not request “assisted suicide.” This is the way things have progressed in Holland where euthanasia has been legal for many years.

Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families, a leading west coast family issues organization that strongly opposed the measure issued a press release on Oct. 1: “Despite saying that the issue of assisted suicide should be up to the voters, not the Legislature, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has quietly signed into law physician- and nurse-assisted suicide via total sedation.

"AB 2747 allows a physician assistant or a nurse to opine that a patient is 'terminal,' and then recommend an unnatural death via 'palliative sedation,'" said Thomasson.. "Depressed patients who succumb to this pressure will be drugged unconscious and die from dehydration, usually within five to 10 days. Nothing in AB 2747 prohibits this horror." “State by state our doctors and nurses are being turned into killers which is the natural progression of a society that has for 35 years allowed the killing of helpless unborn children and most have done little or nothing to stop it.”

Assisted Suicide Expands
By Charlene Bashore, Esq.,
Legislative / Political Action Committee Director Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation


In addition to electing public officials on November 4, 2008 the state of Washington joined Oregon in becoming the second state to legalize physician-assisted suicide, or as its proponents prefer to describe it, “hastened death."

The measure passed by a margin of 58% to 42%, with its proponents outspending the initiative’s opponents approximately $5.5 million to $1.5 million. Over 60% of that $5.5 million war chest was from out-of-state donors. Rita Marker, an attorney and executive director of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, describes the measure as “a Trojan Horse—a policy that enters a state’s legal system as a gift of compassion but is full of deadly consequences.

In Washington, as in Oregon, the crime of assisted suicide has been transformed into a medical treatment.” Further troubling about the new Washington law is that it requires the physician to list the underlying terminal disease as the cause of death, not lethal drug overdose. “This adds a layer of unprecedented deception by forcing doctors to lie about the cause of death on the assisted-suicide patient’s death certificate…”

Terri Schiavo’s Feeding Tube Removed
Painful starvation death took 13 days.

Terri Schindler Schiavo, a 41-year-old disabled woman from Florida, died on March 31, 2005 after 13 days without food or water. “This was not only a death, this was a killing.” Rev. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life told the press minutes after she died. Terri Schiavo became physically and mentally impaired in 1990 due to a lack of oxygen to her brain. The cause of her injury is uncertain. Her fate was the subject of an extensive court battle between Terri’s husband and parents over her guardianship.

Terri’s parents contend she was denied medical care to treat infections, regular dental care, and any rehabilitation or therapy after Michael was awarded a settlement of nearly one million dollars for her care. Terri was not allowed to practice her faith, to attend Mass and receive the sacraments. Her husband obtained three court orders to euthanize her. Terri was denied a guardian ad litum to represent her interests during most of the litigation between Michael Schiavo and Terri’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler.

When Florida Circuit Court Judge George Greer ruled that Schiavo’s feeding tube must be removed and set the date for March 18th, he thwarted efforts by Congressional Republicans to keep her alive by issuing subpoenas for Schiavo, her husband Michael Schiavo, and her health care providers to appear at hearings on March 25th and March 28th. Greer’s ruling also contradicts a move by fellow Circuit Judge David Demers who temporarily blocked removal of the feeding tube an hour earlier.

Greer appears to believe he is above the law by ignoring Congress and the rulings of a fellow Circuit Court Judge. Greer ordered Terri’s feeding tube removed on March 18 without allowing her parents a reasonable amount of time to appeal. No convicted murderer is treated in such a manner. All appeals are exhausted before an execution can take place. In Terri’s case, the date to remove her feeding tube was set knowing with certainty that she would be dead in a matter of weeks. Terri Schiavo, who left no written document with regard to her wishes, was denied due process. Her parents and their lawyers filed emergency appeals. No new review of her case was granted. If the Schindlers had a reasonable amount of time to present their case, the outcome might be different: Terri might still be alive.

How could a Circuit Court Judge thwart a Congressional order and the order of a fellow Judge? Greer simply ignored the rule of law. He ordered Terri Schiavo’s starvation death and no one challenged it. At least not to the point where they would attempt to rescue Terri. Florida Governor Jeb Bush sent social workers to the hospice where Terri was being starved to death, but they did not take her into custody.

This was another tragic case where judicial activists thumbed their nose at the Constitution and the will of the elected Representatives of the American people. Unless such judges are impeached, the votes of the American people will mean nothing.

Online petitions to have Judge Greer Removed from Office can be found at and at Unless such judges are impeached, the votes of the American people will mean nothing.

This action came too late to save Terri, but if an example were made of Judge Greer, other innocent Americans might be protected and other judicial activists might be less likely to think themselves above the law.

Terri died of starvation and dehydration, which was the direct result of the removal of her food and water, as ordered by Judge Greer. The Scranton Chapter of Pennsylvanians for Human Life placed four ads in the Scranton Times following the starvation killing of Terri Schiavo. One dealt with the effects starvation and dehydration has on the body. These included: her mouth would dry out and become caked or coated with thick material; her lips would become parched and cracked, her tongue would become swollen and might crack. Her eyes would sink back into their orbits, and her cheeks would become hollow. The lining of her nose might crack and bleed, the lining of her stomach would dry out causing dry heaves and vomiting. Her skin would become loose and dry; her urine highly concentrated causing burning to the bladder. She could develop a high body temperature, have convulsions and eventually all her major organs would fail. These statements are true and taken from the finding of fact in the Paul Brophy case, another so-called death-with-dignity case in which Mr. Brophy was starved to death. Administering drugs does not take away the effects of starvation and dehydration.

Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin said it well, “Terri Schiavo’s court-ordered death is barbaric and entirely senseless. Our courts are supposed to protect people, not give a husband permission to kill his wife by dehydration and starvation.”

“Our laws must presume in favor of nutrition and hydration because food and water are ordinary means of sustaining a person’s life, even if administered by a feeding tube,” said Matt Sande, director of legislative affairs for Pro-Life Wisconsin. “Food and fluids are not medical treatment. They do not become ‘treatment’ simply because they are taken by tube; anymore than penicillin or Pepto-Bismol become ‘food’ when taken by mouth. Certainly if Terri was facing imminent death, or was physically unable to receive food or water, it would be morally permissible to remove nutrition and hydration. However, the removal of food and water to cause death should never be permitted. As basic human needs, food and water are basic human rights.”

Reprinted from Pro-Life Reporter Spring 2005

The laws of most U.S. states may allow doctors and hospitals to disregard advance directives when they call for treatment, food, or fluids, according to a report issued by the NRLC Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics. Involuntary Euthanasia Laws
Click here for more info.

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