Legislation Could Expand Assisted Suicide to New Hampshire, Surrounding States

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 28, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Legislation Could Expand Assisted Suicide to New Hampshire, Surrounding States

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
September 28
, 2009

Concord, NH (LifeNews.com) — New Hampshire state Representative Charles Weed is introducing a measure that would not only expand assisted suicide to New Hampshire but allow it for residents of surrounding states. The language of the Weed amendment would turn the Granite State into a suicide haven.

The newly proposed HB 304 by Weed would allow assisted suicide.

But it would go further by making it so a terminally ill patient need not be actually suffering serious symptoms to qualify for assisted suicide.

Bioethics attorney Wesley J. Smith responds: "Assisted suicide advocates are cultural imperialists who, as they pretend they only want a ‘limited’ change in law and culture, actually seek to widen and expand the euthanasia/assisted suicide license through the use of loose definitions and broadly worded ‘restrictions.’"

The Weed measure says a “qualified patient” for assisted suicide "means a capable adult who us a resident of New Hampshire or is a patient regularly treated in a New Hampshire health care facility."

That opens the door to residents of new England states to drive to New Hampshire to kill themselves under the law.

"This would generally spread assisted suicide access to citizens of Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine," Smith says. "But it also at means people from all over the country could easily qualify for assisted suicide by traveling to New Hampshire for treatment, then obtain the prescription, and go home."

Usually, state laws and proposals require that patients asking for assisted suicide be residents," he says.

A New Hampshire House committee began work on the bill last Thursday and the full House may vote on the proposal next year.

State Rep. Nancy Elliott, a committee member, told AP she hopes the panel kills the bill.

"This bill opens our vulnerable seniors up to coercion, talking them into ending their life so they won’t be a burden," she said.

Kevin Smith of the conservative Cornerstone Policy Research and Bob Dunn, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Manchester, will also strongly oppose the bill.

Smith also points out that the Weed proposal makes it so a patient needs to be “capable,” to qualify for assisted suicide.

"This term has nothing to do with mental fitness or health. Rather, it means the ability to communicate," he says. "The patient might not even be the one making the request when he or she is not able to directly communicate in an understandable way with the prescribing physician."

"Assisted suicide advocates do not want a limited license," Smith says. "Even here, where the political situation requires them to pretend that the death agenda will be restricted to people with terminal illnesses, they can’t help revealing the actual breadth of their ambition."

"Such restrictions are a mere political expediency, and once accepted popularly, will establish the principle permitting a broader assisted suicide permissibility as has occurred in the Netherlands and Switzerland," he adds.

Oregon and Washington currently allow assisted suicide as does part of Montana while a lawsuit there proceeds in the state Supreme Court to have the state aggressively promote it there.

Related web sites:
New Hampshire Legislature – https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/ie

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.