Know the Facts: PAS Proponents Show Ignorance to True Effects of “Death with Dignity
Earlier this year, the General Assembly created a “Death with Dignity Workgroup” that is charged with examining this legislative proposal with an eye toward further debate during the 2016 General Assembly session. They held their first meeting on the Tuesday after Labor Day, September 8th.
Proponents of “Death with Dignity” raised so many misleading points during this hearing that this will be one of a series of posts on what was said at these workgroup hearings. The biggest shock to us was the lack of commitment to factual information about the risks of physician assisted suicide. When members of the Workgroup asked questions the bill’s proponents deflected or offered untruths on a variety of topics.
Doctor Molly Strauss, a psychiatrist who offered testimony as a proponent of the bill, asserted during the September 8th hearing that the suicide rate was not affected in Oregon, even though we know this is not true. This PAS proponent also argued that a psychiatric evaluation should not be a requirement in order to receive a lethal prescription. She argued such a requirement would “prolong their suffering”. This is not only callous, but ignores the facts – a large number of patients with a terminal diagnosis are suffering from depression.
This Workgroup hearing showed us exactly why we need to be fighting for patients and protecting Maryland from a dangerous law. The bill’s proponents’ cavalier attitude about this issue and its consequences are symbolic of the dangers that face us is we give in and let this bill pass. We will only be able to stop this bill if we know the facts and bring them to light.
(You can watch the entire Workgroup hearing at this link from the MD General Assembly)