Yesterday, on Wednesday, March 27th, a bill in the state of Maryland which would allow for physician-assisted suicide died on a 23-23 tie vote in the Maryland Senate. Pro-life, pro-family, and disability rights advocacy groups, including Students for Life of America, testified, called, and sent in e-mails opposing the legislation.
Stephanie Schmitt, Maryland Regional Coordinator for Students for Life of America noted, “Today’s vote is a victory for the rights of the elderly, the disabled, and the most marginalized in our society. As the national Democratic Party moves towards endorsing infanticide, it’s important to show that we can defeate pro-death legislation even in a heavily Democratic, pro-abortion state. The Pro-Life Generation sees extreme anti-life legislation, from infanticide legislation in Congress and Virginia and New York, to pro-suicide legislation in Maryland and rejects this extremist approach to the value of human life.”
Students for Life of America testified, called, and e-mailed legislators to voice opposition.
According to the Washington Post, “The initial version of the Maryland legislation was modeled after an Oregon law that applies to terminally ill patients whose doctors say they have six months or less to live. Patients would have to make three requests to end their lives, both oral and in writing, with waiting periods and other precautions. Similar statutes have been enacted in the District, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state.”
The Maryland Against Physician Assisted Suicide coalition listed out several reasons why their coalition opposed the legislation, including:
Creating, ” a huge opportunity for abuse of patients – coercion of the elderly by those with a financial stake; forcing of the lethal prescription on those who cannot self-administer (e.g. an ALS patient) or who do not have the mental capacity to understand (e.g. an Alzheimer’s’ patient)” and a lack of psychological evaluation, meaning that depression, not illness, could be driving the decision-making.
The link between PAS and abortion has been explored by Students for Life before. We’ve noted,
“It’s interesting that just like with abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide can be applied to others under the control of those making the life-ending decision. In recent years we’ve seen stories of insurance companies that won’t play for life-extending treatment, but will pay for life-ending drugs. We should be troubled with heirs to a person’s resources arguing that money should not be “wasted” on treatment. The profit motive of the ones who argue for someone else’s deaths should not be dismissed lightly.
As people near the end of their lives, realistically, humane treatments and compassionate care will most likely be needed. Pro-lifers can and should support options such as hospice and other measures that will help provide comfort to people in their last days. We can and should support access to medicine that helps ease suffering and people should be allowed to discuss at what point extraordinary measures should be declined. However, intentionally killing someone can never be compatible with a pro-life worldview.”
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