State Democrats introduced a bill last week that would legalize assisted suicide in Minnesota.
Sponsored by Sens. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, and John Marty, DFL-Roseville, the “End-of-Life Option Act” would allow terminally ill Minnesotans with a prognosis of six months or less to “receive a prescription for medical aid in dying medication.”
Scott Fischbach, executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, called assisted suicide “a danger to all of us.”
“This legislation has gone nowhere in past years, and state lawmakers must firmly reject it again. Contrary to the assertions of activists trying to generate public support, legalizing assisted suicide would pose real risks to Minnesotans,” he said.
Fischbach said the bill could create a financial incentive for public and private insurers to “steer patients toward suicide rather than expensive life-extending treatment.”
“Some patients in states with assisted suicide have been denied treatment and offered assisted suicide instead,” MCCL said in a press release.
The pro-life group is also concerned about the fact that the bill doesn’t require a psychiatric evaluation for patients seeking life-ending drugs. MCCL said research shows that some assisted-suicide patients have suffered from depression.
“People who are at risk of suicide deserve our protection,” Fischbach added. “Those facing an adverse prognosis or the challenges of disability deserve our protection no less than physically healthy and able-bodied people. We all count.”
His group pointed out that prognoses aren’t always reliable and some patients “qualifying for assisted suicide have gone on to live for years.”
The bill in question provides an example of the type of written request that patients would be required to make with their health care providers.
“I am an adult of sound mind,” it states in part. “I request that my attending provider furnish a prescription for medication that will end my life in a peaceful manner if I choose to self-administer it, and I authorize my attending provider to contact a pharmacist to dispense the prescription at a time of my choosing. I make this request voluntarily, free from coercion or undue influence.”
According to the Death with Dignity National Center, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized assisted suicide.