Bills to Legalize Assisted Suicide Files in New Hampshire, Hawaii Legislatures

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 27, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bills to Legalize Assisted Suicide Files in New Hampshire, Hawaii Legislatures

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 27
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — With Washington state voters deciding to become the second state to legalize assisted suicide and courts in Montana poised to make it the third, the pro-euthanasia movement is working with legislators in Hawaii and New Hampshire to try to make them states four and five to allow the grisly practice.

Hawaii has tried and failed repeatedly to approve a bill to legalize assisted suicide.

A coalition of pro-life groups, religious organizations, medical professionals and disability rights advocates banded together to defeat the measure.

Now, a new bill, HB 587, has been filed and it requires a suicide "monitor" to be present at the time of the death of the patient. Such monitoring has been condemned in Oregon because it essentially allows the "counselors" who work with Compassion and Choices, a pro-euthanasia group, to sit in when the suicide takes place.

The New Hampshire assisted suicide bill, HB 304, seeks to take the Oregon law and expand it further.

Rather than defining a terminal illness as someone who has six months or less to live, the New Hampshire bill uses an expansive definition of "terminal illness" that could qualify even more patients for death from a physician.

Bioethicist Wesley J. Smith takes issue with the definitions in the bill of terms such as "terminal condition" and "premature death."

"What is a ‘premature death’ anyway? It could be just about anything. Indeed, Jack Kevorkian once infamously said that a terminal illness is one that shortens a life by a single day," he says.

He says the definition as used in the bill "could include a broad host of diseases and conditions that are not thought to be terminal illnesses as generally defined in the immediate sense."

"Indeed, under this definition a disease that could take years to kill the patient could technically qualify as a terminal condition under this definition making the patient qualified for assisted suicide," Smith explains.

"But you see, that is the plan. Advocates for mercy killing constantly push the boundaries here, and blur normal definitions there–with the ultimate goal of enacting a very broad license to mercy kill that reaches far beyond terminal illness to the anarchy of death on demand," he concluded.

Related web sites:
Hawaii Legislature –
Hawaii Right to Life –
New Hampshire Legislature –
New Hampshire Citizens for Life –

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