Cases like Graham Robert Morant illustrate how patients are put at risk of coercion and abuse when assisted suicide becomes legal.
“Graham Robert Morant was last month found guilty on two charges — counseling suicide and aiding suicide. The court heard there had been no conviction or comparative sentences for the counseling charge in any jurisdiction. Morant was convicted of encouraging 56 year-old Jennifer Morant to kill herself in her car in 2014 and helping her buy necessary equipment from a hardware store. The court heard 69 year-old Morant stood to gain 1.4 million dollars for three life insurance policies to be paid out even in the event of suicide. The case has set a precedent for the conviction of assisting in suicide. ”
With assisted suicide, a greedy heir to the patient’s estate or friends of the heir can encourage or pressure the patient to request the drugs and then be a witness to the lethal drug request. Neither the prescribing or attending physician are required to be present at the time the lethal drugs are taken or at the time of death. There is absolutely no supervision or tracking of the drugs once they leave the pharmacy. A greedy heir or an abusive caregiver can pick up the drugs and either coerce a patient to take them or put them in the patient’s food. Who would know if the drugs are freely taken?
In fact, in Oregon, where assisted suicide has been legal the longest in the United States, the records used in the annual reports on assisted suicide requests are destroyed after one year, making them unavailable if there are questions about administration of the lethal drugs or an investigation is warranted. Oregon authorities even issued a release in 2005 clarifying that they have no authority to investigate assisted suicide cases.