Euthanasia Lobby Exploits Case of Pennsylvania Woman Charged With Assisted Suicide

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 2, 2013   |   1:57PM   |   Harrisburg, PA

A Pennsylvania case has caught the eye of the pro-euthanasia lobby.

Compassion and Choices, whose roots can be traced back to the pro-euthanasia Hemlock Society, is representing a nurse from Philadelphia who is being charged with assisting in the suicide of her 93-year-old father.

According to a report, Joe Yourshaw was in hospice care when he asked his visiting daughter Barbara Mancini, who is a nurse, for his bottle of morphine.

A hospice nurse at the home told police that “her client had taken an overdose of morphine with the intent to commit suicide.” The hospice nurse said Mancini gave her father the morphine “at his request so that he could end his own suffering.”

The hospice nurse called 911, and Yourshaw was revived at the hospital. He died four days later.

Mancini says she gave her father the medicine to help ease his pain, not to help him die.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office was asked to prosecute the case because of a conflict of interest at the local court level.

“If a person beyond a reasonable doubt committed assisted suicide, justice needs to be served and the law needs to be adjudicated,” Michael Ciccocioppo, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, told ABC News. “But in a case like this one, which is so murky, unless there is real evidence to corroborate the charge, it’s hard to see how this would go all the way through.”

While the details of this specific case are not clear, the intentions of the pro-euthanasia lobby are. The group is urging state Attorney General Kane to drop the case, by citing her decision not to defend a Pennsylvania law upholding traditional marriage. If the attorney general refused to defend that law, the euthanasia lobby argues she could refuse to defend the Pennsylvania ban on assisted suicide, too.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided in Washington v. Glucksberg and Vacco v. Quill that states have an interest in protecting their citizens from suicide, and they may ban assisted suicide and euthanasia.

The euthanasia lobby claims pain as a reason for legalizing assisted suicide, but studies show pain is not a leading factor in suicides.

In Oregon, where physician-assisted suicide is legal, studies show that pain is one of the last reasons people give for committing suicide. Depression – a treatable condition – “is the only factor that significantly predicts the request for death,” according to Oregon Right to Life.

Even the World Medical Association condemns physician assisted suicide as “unethical.”



Pennsylvania’s ban on assisted suicide protects vulnerable people from being pressured into committing suicide.

“One thing is for sure,” Ciccocioppo said. “People in pain have a right to relieve their pain, and we don’t have a problem with that. But the same Supreme Court decision … also upheld assisted suicide laws and the rights of the states to say it’s not legal. We stand by that to the end.”

LifeNews Note: Micaiah Bilger is the Education Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation.