Just like abortion, assisted suicide is an issue clouded by vague terminology and legislation, with the ultimate goal of performing it as often as possible.
Originally “only” reserved for those with terminal illnesses, the never-ending expansion that its supporters so desperately want is already in motion. For example, see these excerpts from www.stopassistedsuicideillinois.org:
“The definition of ‘terminal illness’ is arbitrary and includes patients who are not dying. For example, if a patient refuses to take his/her heart medication, that patient is then defined as “terminally ill” and eligible for life ending medications. How many times have you heard of someone who has been given a terminal diagnosis and they live well beyond the time a doctor thought they had?”
“In a number of states having legal assisted suicide, practitioners are approving patients getting prescriptions who are NOT terminal. The reasons include anorexia, arthritis, arteritis, blood disease, complications from a fall, hernia, sclerosis…and more.”
In the same manner by which abortion went from “safe, legal and rare” to “as many as possible, at all costs”, asissted suicide laws will continuously progress to new extremities.
Beyond this dangerous expansion of its definition, assisted suicide may also be linked to increased suicide rates.
For example, a National Council on Disability report found that prior to legalizing assisted suicide in 1997, Oregon’s suicide rate was comparable to the national average. However, by 2010, Oregon’s suicide rate climbed to 41% above the national average.
Furthermore, an article published in the Southern Medical Journal found that states with assisted suicide laws on average had 6.3% higher suicide rates when compared to the national average.
In addition to these concerns, the requirements (or lack thereof) for a doctor to administer a lethal prescription to a patient are gravely unsettling. For example, a doctor that decides whether a patient is eligible for “treatment” only has to know the patient for a minimum of 15 days. This means that if a doctor denies a patient a lethal prescription, the patient can simply find a another doctor who will prescribe it.
As if that were not alarming enough, a 2008 report from the University of Michigan found that when a patient ingested a lethal prescription, a doctor was only present 23% of the time.
Simply put, assisted suicide brings grave downsides with it in addition to its inherent moral conflict. No matter what arguments its advocates may make, no amount of “justification” should ever enable the deliberate ending of innocent human life.
For these reasons, in order to protect the best interests of Illinois and its people, it is crucial that legislators vote against any attempt to legal assisted suicide.