ACLU Threatens to Sue Nursing Home for Refusing to Help Patients Kill Themselves

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 8, 2018   |   4:20PM   |  

A retirement home connected to the Catholic Church is being threatened with legal action for not allowing its patients to commit suicide under Hawaii’s new assisted suicide law.

Though there are social service programs and 24-hour hotlines dedicated to preventing healthy, young people from committing suicide, there is a growing movement in America to push suicide on those who are old or sick. They euphemistically call it “aid in dying,” though people do not have to be dying to qualify for assisted suicide.

Earlier this year, Hawaii became the sixth state to legalize assisted suicide, joining California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia. The law is slated to go into effect in January.

Those who oppose suicide in all its forms are being targeted by powerful liberal groups.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the Kahala Nui retirement home in Honolulu demanding that it comply with the new anti-life law, the AP reports.

The elderly care home recently notified patients that they will not be allowed to commit assisted suicide there, according to the report. The Catholic Church, which owns the land where the nonprofit elderly care home is located, opposes assisted suicide, euthanasia, abortion and other life-destroying practices.

The ACLU claims that amounts to discrimination.

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Here’s more from the report:

Mateo Caballero, the legal director of the ACLU of Hawaii, said the home was discriminating against those who weren’t Catholic and was telling residents they have to conform to the Catholic Church’s teachings.

“I couldn’t think of a more clear violation of the Fair Housing Act and Hawaii’s own anti-discrimination laws,” he said.

Caballero said he’s not aware of another case in which a retirement home prevented its residents from using a medically assisted suicide law.

Caballero said he wants the home to send another note to residents rescinding its May 11 memo and inform residents it was wrong. Caballero said he hopes the ACLU can work with the home on the issue. If not, he said the ACLU would weigh its options, including a potential lawsuit.

A spokesperson for the home said they do not discriminate against patients based on religion, race, sex, color or anything else. Executive Director Wendy Wong said they have asked their legal counsel to look into the ACLU’s demands.

The Hawaii law allows adults with a terminal diagnosis of six months or fewer to ask a doctor for prescription drugs to kill themselves. But the law — and the six others like it in the U.S. — is riddled with loopholes that fail to protect elderly and disabled people from abuse.

Not Dead Yet, a disability rights group that opposes assisted suicide, has documented on-going abuses of assisted suicide laws in Oregon and Washington, the first two states to legalize the deadly procedure. The group said both states prescribe the lethal drugs to people who are not terminally ill nearly every year.

There also are confirmed stories of patients being denied medical treatment coverage and offered assisted suicide drugs instead.

Stephanie Packer, a mother of four struggling with terminal scleroderma, is one of them. The California woman said her state Medicare plan initially refused to pay for her medical treatment but offered to pay for assisted suicide drugs instead. She has lived five years longer than doctors predicted, the National Catholic Register reported in June.

In separate incidents, Oregon cancer patients Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup also were denied medical treatment by their state health insurance plans and offered doctor-prescribed suicide instead.

Family members also have witnessed their loved ones being pressured to consider suicide instead of medical treatment. Oregon resident Kathryn Judson said doctors tried to pitch assisted suicide to her sick husband while she was out of the room one day. Judson said they switched doctors, and her husband lived for five more years.