Arizona Bill Would Legalize Assisted Suicide, Pro-Life Groups Opposed

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 16, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Arizona Bill Would Legalize Assisted Suicide, Pro-Life Groups Opposed Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 16
, 2007

Phoenix, AZ ( — A bill introduced in the Arizona state legislature would attempt to make the southwestern state the second in the nation to legalize assisted suicide. Other states such as Vermont and California may also see battles this legislative session to join Oregon in allowing the grisly practice.

A group of Democratic legislators introduced the measure that would allow doctors to help patients suffering from incurable illnesses kill themselves.

The bill would put in place protocols for assisted suicides and patients would have to make the request in writing as well as orally. They must be declared competent to make such a decision and have a medically confirmed illness.

In an attempt to legitimize assisted suicide, the proposal also prohibits euthanasia and would punish those who actively kill patients without their consent. It also includes conscience clauses for doctors, medical personnel and pharmacists who don’t want to be involved in the assisted suicide.

However, a Phoenix Business Journal report says the bill also requires medical facilities to not discriminate against those who kill patients via assisted suicide.

Reps. Kyrsten Sinema, David Bradley, Mark DeSimone and Martha Garcia are the sponsors of the measure, which is expected to get strong opposition from pro-life organizations, Catholic groups, disability rights activists and medical associations.

Assisted suicide is advancing in other states as well.

In Washington, former Gov. Booth Gardner says he is still planning to lead a campaign to legalize assisted suicide there.

"We think that the answer is love and care at the end of life and not eliminating patients," Dan Kennedy, chief executive of Human Life of Washington, told the Portland Oregonian earlier this year. "This turns (care) 180 degrees and asks doctors to be complicit in something we find morally offensive."

Lawmakers in California, Hawaii and Vermont have defeat proposals to legalize assisted suicide in those states and Michigan voters overwhelmingly opposed a measure to allow it there.