California continues to sink deeper into the moral abyss. Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law an assisted suicide law that was opposed by every elected Republican member of the state legislature.
This partisan move resembles the Obama administration’s 2010 one-sided shoving of ObamaCare down the throats of the American people. Democracy is not supposed to work this way.
Dr. Philip B. Dreisback, an oncologist from Rancho Mirage, California, is one of six concerned physicians who, along with the American Academy of Medical Ethics, who have suited in a California Superior Court to block this new law as unconstitutional. They believe the law removes penal-code protections from a vulnerable segment of the population deemed “terminally ill.”
The law allows anyone labeled as terminally ill to request assisted suicide – but it also accepts heirs and the owners of caregiving facilities to formally witness such requests, even though the probate code does not even accept “interested parties” as witnesses to a will. The law also does not require an attending physician to refer the patient for psychological assessment.
Thus, the law does not allow for screening for possible coercion, or for underlying mental conditions that could be behind the suicide request – unless the patient has signs of mental problems, which may not be visible to a suicide-specialist doctor they may not even know. Dresibach believes the law devastates elder-abuse law and mental health legal protections and it deprives those labeled as terminally ill of equal-protection rights that all other Americans enjoy.
It is ironic that liberals who oppose the death penalty and often describe execution by lethal injection as “cruel and unusual punishment” find no such problems with assisted suicide – which is achieved by the same methods.
Even the left-leaning American Medical Association declares:
“Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.”
Personally, I would never participate in physician-assisted suicide and all those physicians who seriously took the oath, “First, do no harm” must also object. In fact, no physician should agree to participate, which would force liberals to accept the full responsibility for their actions.
“And why must it be the physician who facilitates self-murder? Why not make the agent of death a non-physician who is given special permission to order and administer a regimen of lethal drugs? No, the advocates want to exploit the respect and trust accorded to the “good doctor” so that drug-induced deaths are viewed as “compassionate.” It is part of the marketing scheme for a small but influential necro-political movement.”
Lastly, Dresibach warns of the Oregon experience where a similar law was passed in 1997. Dr. William Toffler, a distinguished professor of family medicine at Oregon Health & Science University of Portland, Oregon, testified before Congress in 2015 about abuses of the law and about the state health department’s negligence.
“There is a shroud of secrecy enveloping the practice. Doctors engaging in this practice are required by state law to fabricate the cause of death stating that the cause is ‘natural’ rather than suicide.”
Toffler tells of a system of two different death certificates, endorsed by the Oregon legislature, with one public having no medical information and a private one that is separate and never made public. Thus, review and tracking of physician-assisted suicide deaths by anyone outside of the Oregon Health Division is impossible.
Our most vulnerable citizens deserve the same protections of life and liberty that all Americans enjoy. The slippery slope that began in Oregon has continued in Washington, Vermont, Montana, and now California. This trend must stop.