Latest additions to web site: 5/29/15
Site Map

“Why disability rights advocates oppose assisted suicide”
( — May 11, 2015)
Simply put, assisted suicide sets up a double standard, with suicide prevention for some and suicide assistance for others, depending on their health or disability.  If such distinctions were based on race or ethnicity, we’d call it bigotry.  The dangers of mistake, coercion and abuse it poses to old, ill and disabled people are rooted in a profound and still largely unacknowledged devaluation of our lives.
See additional articles below
In addition to bills still pending in New Jersey, doctor-prescribed suicide bills have been proposed this year in more than twenty states.  For more information on each bill, click on the state name below.
District of Columbia


New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island

Scroll down for other Recent Developments, and for Featured Articles.
For additional information, see Site Map.

The Latest PRC Update (2015 – Volume 29, No. 2,):

  • Activists try to push prescribed-suicide bills in states across the country
  • Canadian court upholds a patient’s right to spoon-feeding
  • News briefs from home & abroad
    View as plain text.  View as PDF

Who will speak for you?
Imagine you are in an accident tomorrow and so seriously injured that you aren’t able to communicate about your health care wishes for several weeks. Who would make health care decisions for you during that time? Do you need an advance directive?

To obtain a durable power of attorney for health care for the state in which you are a resident, call the Patients Rights Council (800-958-5678 or 740-282-3810) between 8:30am and 4:30pm (eastern time).

Recent Major Developments

“Hooker sues state officials about aid-in-dying”
(WSMV — May 19, 2015)
Nashville attorney John Jay Hooker and three doctors have filed a lawsuit against state officials over Hooker’s desire for himself and others to receive “aid-in-dying.”
A bill sponsored by state Rep. Craig Fizhugh, D-Ripley, that would have allowed the right to die or assisted suicide was sent by legislators in both houses to summer study.

“Dutch judge orders ‘mercy killing’ of 80-year-old dementia sufferer after doctors tried to stop her family from ending her life”
(Daily Mail — May 18, 2015)
[F]or the first time in 13 years of legal euthanasia in the Netherlands, a court over-ruled the doctors’ withes and ordered that the euthanasia go ahead…A day later she was taken from the care home and killed by the Life End Clinic, which was set up with the aim of making euthanasia more easily accessible in the Netherlands.
More on the Netherlands

“Final Exit Network found guilty of assisting suicide in Dakota County”
(Star Tribune — May 13, 2015)
It’s the first time Final Exit Network, a national right-to-die group, has been convicted of the criminal charge of assisting suicide.
More on Minnesota

“Dutch Court Clears Man Who Helped His 99-Year-Old Mother Die”
(New York Times — May 13, 2015)
[A] case that aimed to create precedents for assisting suicide…While euthanasia has been legal in the Netherlands for years if carried out by a physician, assisted suicide by a friend or relative of the person who wants to die remains illegal.
More on the Netherlands

“Colombia just legalized euthanasia.  Here’s why that’s a big deal”
(Global Post — April 29, 2015)
Euthanasia is when a third party actually administers the fatal dose, usually by fatal injection….Colombia’s constitutional court actually ruled in favor of euthanasia back in 1997…The Health Ministry’s new protocol finally puts the court ruling into practice.
More on Colombia

“An end to cancer pain?”
(University of Toronto — April 23, 2015)
A new study led by University of Toronto researcher Dr. David Lam has discovered the trigger behind the most severe forms of cancer pain.  Released in the journal Pain this month, the study points to TMPRSS2 as the culprit: a gene that is also responsible for some of the most aggressive forms of androgen-fuelled cancers.
More on Pain Control
More on Canada

“Doctors Medical Center Closure Shows Struggle of Hospitals that Serve the Poor”
(Capital Public Radio — April 20, 2015)
She [Joanne Spetz, professor of Health Policy Studies at UC San Francisco] says hospitals that serve the poor may continue to struggle in the new world of health care. The Affordable Care Act reduces payments to hospitals serving the uninsured.
More on California
More on Affordable Care Act

“The National Council on Independent Living — latest organization to oppose Senate Bill 128″
(April 13, 2015)
It reinforces stereotypes that depending on others for assistance with activities of daily living is not dignified, which the disability community strongly opposes.
More on Disability Perspectives
More on California

“Lauren Hill, Who Made Inspirational Layup, Dies of Tumor”
(ABC News — April 10, 2015)
Lauren Hill’s teammates and coaches are remembering the 19-year-old college basketball player with her own inspiring words, “Never give up.”
More on Lauren Hill

“‘Death with dignity’ bill extinguished without a vote”
(Baltimore Sun — April 1, 2015)
Hope ended Wednesday for those who wanted Maryland to pass a “death with dignity” law this year. Leaders of two key committees considering a bill that would have allowed doctor to prescribe medicine to help terminally ill patients end their lives decided not to vote on the proposal, effectively killing it.
More on Maryland

“Killing Cancer”
(CBS News — March 29, 2015)
A likely cure (at the least a life-extending treatment) was reported on by 60 Minutes (3/29/15) — a cure for the aggressive type of cancer that Brittany Maynard had. It’s a treatment that is thought to kill other solid cancerous tumors as well, and is currently being tested for an array of cancers.

“Shrinks Treat Suicide Wish with Euthanasia”
(National Review — March 21, 2015)
Now, a Belgian magazine has more details about the 50 or 60 mentally ill people euthanized by Belgian psychiatrists each year….Mentally ill people have great organs to be harvested!  The slippery slope has become an avalanche of abandonment.
More on Belgium

Major Challenge to Obamacare heard in U.S. Supreme Court
Transcript of March 4, 2015 oral arguments in King v. Burwell
More on Obamacare

“Execution of Georgia Woman Postponed; Problem with Drug”
(ABC News – March 3, 2015)
The problematic drug is pentobarbital.
[Note: The latest official Oregon report indicates that more the 44% of reported deaths under Oregon’s “Death with Dignity Act” have been from pentobarbital. (See pg. 5 of the report).]
More on Oregon

Featured Articles

“Why disability rights advocates oppose assisted suicide”
( — May 11, 2015)
Simply put, assisted suicide sets up a double standard, with suicide prevention for some and suicide assistance for others, depending on their health or disability.  If such distinctions were based on race or ethnicity, we’d call it bigotry.  The dangers of mistake, coercion and abuse it poses to old, ill and disabled people are rooted in a profound and still largely unacknowledged devaluation of our lives.
More on Disability Perspective

“Professor, do your homework,” disability group tells Singer”
(BioEdge — May 8, 2015)
Klein elicited from [Princeton Professor Peter] Singer the claim that government-funded health care should include rationing and that we should acknowledge the necessity of intentionally ending the lives of severely disabled infants.”
More on Singer
More on Disability Perspective

Andrew D. Sumner, MD: “Physician-assisted suicide wrong, dangerous for society”
(Morning Call — April 24, 2015)
Physician-assisted suicide is the easy option for a busy, stressed or frustrated physician.  It also gives too much power to the physician.  He or she would become judge, jury and assistant executioner.  A physician could convince a patient that this is a reasonable step in just the way they describe their diagnosis and prognosis.
More on Pennsylvania

“Nursing Homes Are Starting to Supplant Hospitals as Focus of Basic Health Care”
(New York Times — April 24, 2015)
Changing Medicare and Medicaid policies and incentives, and new HMO-like accountable care organizations, are encouraging these practices. But there would be greater optimism if nursing homes were adopting them faster.

“Legacy of Hill lives on”
(Camp Lejeune Globe — April 23, 2015)
She was a basketball player — an athlete.  She scored legitimate points for her junior college. But more importantly, she scored a lot of points in life.
At her public funeral, her picture was adorned with a quote from Christopher Reeve — “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”
More on Lauren Hill

“Coercion risk clouds euthanasia bill”
(San Diego Union Tribune — April 20, 2015)
“Perhaps the most significant problem is the deadly mix between assisted suicide and profit-driven managed health care…Again and again, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and managed care bureaucracies have overruled physicians’ treatment decisions.”
More on California
More on Cost Containment

“Assisted suicide would be fraught with problems and abuses”
(CT Mirror — March 6, 2015)
Led by a vocal disability community, opposition to assisted suicide cannot be reduced to soundbites.  Death is far too important for six-word slogans — like ‘My Life. My Death. My Choice.”  Instead, let us examine the real issues — the mistakes, coercion, and abuse that are inevitable and which cannot be fixed.
More on Connecticut
More on Disability Perspective

Position Statement on SB 676/ HB 1021, Death with Dignity Act
(The Arc — March 2015)
The Arc Maryland’s concerns include lack of protections, historic discrimination in the medical field based on perceived “quality of life” of persons with disabilities, and lack of treatment and other options….
More on Maryland
More on Disability Perspective

“Out of Pocket, Out of Control”
(Bloomberg — February 10, 2015)
Obamacare’s goal to expand access to health care has been only half a success.  More Americans have insurance, but a rise in cost sharing means fewer can use it. Copayments are a big part of the problem…22 percent of people now say the cost of getting care has led them to delay treatment for a serious condition.
More on Obamacare

“A safe place for abused seniors”
( — February 9. 2015
“[A] person who is vulnerable because they have physical or cognitive challenges may be reluctant to leave an abusive situation, particularly because the abuser is also the victim’s caregiver….[A]wareness of elder abuse is probably about 40 years behind where awareness of child abuse or marital abuse is.”
More on Maryland

“Diane Coleman:’s Letter to Some New Jersey Senate Democrats”
(Not Dead Yet — February 5, 2015)
The idea of mixing a cost-cutting “treatment” such as assisted suicide into a broken, cost-conscious health care system that’s poorly designed to meet dying patient’s needs is dangerous to the thousands of people whose health care costs the most — mainly  people living with a disability, the elderly and chronically ill….
When you look at assisted suicide based on one individual, it often looks acceptable.  But when you examine how legalization affects the vast majority of us, the dangers to the many far outweigh any alleged benefits to a few.
More on New Jersey

“We should think twice about ‘death with dignity’”
(Los Angeles Times — February 1, 2015)
As someone who supports all those other liberal causes, yet opposes physician-assisted suicide, I’d ask my fellow progressives to shine a cold hard light on this issue. We have been the target of a decades-long branding campaign that paints hastening death as an extension of personal freedoms….The movement is also pushing to expand the means of hastening death to include lethal injections delivered by physicians.
More on California

“As more hospices enroll patients who aren’t dying, questions about lethal doses arise”
(Washington Post)
His death certificate, which was signed by the hospice doctor, listed the cause as “renal cell carcinoma” or kidney cancer.  But the doctor had never examined Coffey, his family said, and medical records from just a few weeks earlier do not mention it.
More on hospice

“Euthanasia deaths ‘not easy’”
(British Broadcasting Company)
Attempts by doctors to help people suffering from fatal illness take their own lives failed to give an “easy death” in one in five cases, researchers say.

Previously Featured Articles

Have you heard about VSED?  
It stands for voluntarily stopping eating and drinking. VSED is being promoted by assisted-suicide activists who are also working to force health care providers to participate in it.  Important Questions & Answers about VSED

From the bookshelf…
Twenty years ago, Ann Humphry, the co-founder of the Hemlock Society (now called Compassion and Choices) committed suicide. Her death made headlines worldwide.

Prior to her death, Ann contacted Rita Marker, a staunch euthanasia opponent. Over time, the two became close friends, and Ann asked Rita to make public secrets about the right-to-die movement — secrets that had weighed heavily on Ann.

Two years after Ann’s tragic death, the book, Deadly Compassion: The Death of Ann Humphry and the Truth About Euthanasia was published. It recounts Ann’s personal story, the founding of the Hemlock Society, and activities of euthanasia and doctor-prescribed suicide advocates. Thousands of copies of the book were sold in the United States, England, Canada and Australia. (Read excerpts from reviews of the book.)

Now, for the first time, you can read Deadly Compassion in its entirety on line in PDF format.