by Steven Ertelt
January 14, 2008
Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — The Wisconsin legislature will hold a hearing on a bill that would legalize assisted suicide and make the state the second after Oregon to allow the grisly practice. The bill follows similar measures in other states such as Vermont, Hawaii and California that failed last year and a new ballot initiative in Washington.
State Sen. Fred Risser and state Rep. Frank Boyle, two Democrats, are behind the legislation, which would allow terminally ill patients to request life-ending drugs from their physicians.
The bill requires patients to get their terminally ill condition verified by two doctors and they must be expected to die within the next six months. Only then can they request the drugs to be used in killing themselves.
Risser and Boyle have proposed similar bills in previous years but they never received votes in either state House or Senate.
On January 23, the Senate Public Health, Senior Issues, Long Term Care and Privacy Committee will hold a public hearing on the measure, SB 151.
Wisconsin Right to Life told LifeNews.com on Monday that the group will testify against the bill and do everything it can to urge lawmakers to vote against it.
"We must guard against those ‘choices’ which victimize the vulnerable, ourselves, and society as a whole," WRTL legislative director Susan Armacost told LifeNews.com.
"Doctors should heal, not kill. We must maintain the healing tradition of medicine," she said. "Wisconsin Right to Life will spare no resources in making sure this legislation is stopped dead in its tracks!"
Armacost points out that patients are sometimes misdiagnosed and could make an irreversible decision to die based on the wrong information.
She also pointed to a Netherlands study showing that doctors allowed to engage in assisted suicide feel the law should be expanded to include euthanasia. She worries doctors could coerce patients into choosing assisted suicide or that they may not get adequate mental health care that could help them see it as a poor option.
ACTION: Go to this web page and tell the members of the Wisconsin Senate panel that you oppose SB 151.