The Hippocratic Oath, which scholars estimate was written in the fourth century B.C., includes the unambiguous statement: I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan.
I watched the committee testimony on Freiberg's legalized suicide bill. I am concerned HF2152 not only disregards life, but has the potential to empower those who want to exploit our vulnerable, disabled, and elderly. At a time when the Democrats are pushing for socialized medicine, now, more than ever, legalizing assisted suicide has dire implications. Earlier this year, my heart ached for Noa Pothoven, the 17 year old girl from the Netherlands, who suffered from depression and ultimately ended her life through assisted suicide. As a society, we should never stop trying to help and protect people suffering from mental illness. We should always be trying to restore hope. Noa's story is an example of one of the many horrifying concerns assisted suicide raises.
I believe, as a society, we should value life. "Terminal illness" under this bill means “an incurable and irreversible illness that will, within reasonable medical judgment, result in death within six months.” A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer would qualify as a terminal illness. My father was diagnosed with this terminal illness and objected to fighting it. After rallying around him as a family, we convinced him to fight and he beat amazing odds for nearly five years with his terminal diagnosis and led a full life right up to the end.
Every day, there is someone else who beats the odds and lives for years or a normal life, when they were expected to die a certain death. Doctors call is 'practice' for a reason. Making suicide a medical option means more people will commit suicide. As government and insurance companies work to improve their bottom lines, medical suicide will become a tool used to reduce the costs of terminally ill patients.
Medically assisted suicide started in countries with socialized medicine, where older people deemed to not contribute to society are provided an easy option to not waiting on a long list for treatment. In the Netherlands, it started with the terminally ill. Then it was opened to anyone with a “poor prognosis.” In 2018, 2,600 patients were euthanized, including 702 patients just for suffering from mental illness. Extrapolate this number for the population of the US (19.2 times the population) and that would equate to over 50,000 people a year being euthanized and over 12,000 of them not due to physical ailments, but from mental illness.
In the Netherlands, they euthanize people as young as 12. 16 year olds don’t even need a parent’s permission. I value life. I have compassion for the for the terminally ill. I have watched loved ones die from cancer. I urge the public to understand the slippery slope towards making suicide a common occurrence, the devaluation of life, and the potential for creating health insurance policies offering discounts for taking the red pill if you receive X diagnosis.