This week, House Bill 90 was introduced in New Mexico by Deborah Armstrong (Dem) to legalize assisted suicide. The bill is referred to as The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act.
HB 90 is the most dangerous assisted suicide bill I have ever seen.
It allows assisted suicide for psychiatric conditions, to be done to someone with an undefined “terminal prognosis,” to be done by nurses and physician assistants, and it even allows it to be approved via telemedicine.
The language of the legislation determines parameters of the law. HB 90 is wider than any previous assisted suicide bill:
- The bill allows nurses and physician assistants to participate in assisted suicide by defining “health care provider” to include: a licensed physician, a licensed osteopathic physician, a licensed nurse, and a licensed physician assistant.
- The bill does not require the person to “self administer.” The bill states “may self-administer.” This means that euthanasia is possible.
- The bill allows people with mental health disorders to die by assisted suicide. The bill enables licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, master social worker, psychiatric nurse practitioner or professional clinical mental health counselor to approve assisted suicide for these people.
- The bill does not require a second assessor unless the person has a mental health disorder or intellectual disability.
- The bill allows the “health care provider” to approve death via “telemedicine.”
- The bill replaces a 6 month terminal diagnosis with an undefined term: “foreseeable future.” What does it mean that your terminal illness may cause death in the foreseeable future?
- The bill reduces waiting period to 48 hours to receive the lethal drugs.
- The bill requires health care providers to falsify the death certificate.
- The bill provides legal protection for anyone who participates in the act.
- The bill removes conscience rights for health care providers who object to assisted suicide by requiring them to refer patients to a health care provider who is willing to prescribe assisted suicide.
- The bill lacks a residency requirement. Combined with the telemedicine provision, the bill would legalize assisted suicide in all 50 US States.
- The bill basis decisions and action on a “good faith compliance.”“Good faith compliance.” is the lowest level of oversight. It is impossible to prove that someone who participated in the act did not do so in “good faith.”
Section 4 of the bill enables people with mental health disorders and intellectual disabilities to die by assisted suicide. The bill requires people with a mental health disorder or intellectual disability to be evaluated by one of the persons listed above (#3). The bill enables the mental health counselor to approve assisted suicide after one of visit or after an assessment by “telemedicine.”
Therefore a person who lives with intellectual disabilities or a mental health disorder can be approved for assisted suicide after speaking to a mental health counselor by telemedicine.
Finally, this bill reduces the reporting procedure to require health care providers to self-report only the most basic data such as: age, race, sex, whether the person was enrolled in hospice, the underlying medical conditions, and the date of death. It would be impossible to determine if abuse of the law occurs.
Michelle Lujan Grisham, the recently elected Democrat Governor of New Mexico,stated during the election that she supports the legalization of assisted suicide.
New Mexico has been debating assisted suicide for many years. During the previous legislative session the New Mexico Senate defeated the assisted suicide bill by a vote of 22 to 20.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has organized the Stopping Assisted Suicide in Your StateConference in Albuquerque New Mexico with a campaign training session on Friday, January 25 and the Conference on Saturday January 26. (Information link).
New Mexico House Bill 90 is designed to kill.