For Immediate Release
March 3, 2016
Contact: Tim Rosales, 929.244.3297
Assisted Suicide Proponents Kick Off 2016 with Rejections in MD, NJ, IA, UT, AZ & CO
New Jersey Democratic Senator Peter Barnes, “There was never a groundswell of support…”
Princeton, NJ – Since mounting a multi-million dollar national campaign beginning in 2014, the pro-assisted suicide movement has racked up a series of notable rejections. In 2016 alone, efforts to pass assisted suicide legislation have failed in Maryland, New Jersey, Iowa, Utah, Arizona and Colorado.
Opponents of assisted suicide include: doctors, patients, progressives, disability rights organizations, faith-based leaders and dozens of others. They have demonstrated to state legislators that assisted suicide’s negative implications on overall patient and comfort care, healthcare access in underprivileged communities, treatment availability and mental healthcare far outweigh the supporters’ arguments.
Overview of where assisted suicide bill have been rejected so far in 2016:
Maryland – This week assisted suicide proponents withdrew legislation noting to the Associated Press, “it became clear the measure did not have enough votes…” The bill author further mentioned that it is unlikely a new bill will be reintroduced next year due to the strong opposition. The Maryland Senate includes 35 Democrats and only 12 Republicans, and the House of Delegates holds 98 Democrats and 43 Republicans.
New Jersey – Following an aggressive two-year campaign effort by assisted suicide supporters, S382 was shelved. Democratic Senator Peter Barnes noted publicly, “There was never a groundswell of support for this bill.”
Iowa – After a brief February debate and opposition testimony from cancer survivors and others, this bill failed to move through a Senate sub-committee.
Colorado – A bill that would have legalized assisted suicide in Colorado failed in a Senate committee last month. A few weeks later, the Colorado Assembly failed to take up the bill because there were not enough votes to pass it. In addition, the Colorado Title Board voted not to advance a ballot measure to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia. This bill and proposed ballot measure were strongly opposed by a coalition that included doctors, patients and disability rights advocates.
Utah – Following testimony, a bill to legalize assisted suicide was unanimously sent back to the Rules Committee, killing the bill for the remainder of the year.
Arizona – Similar to previous attempts to pass assisted suicide legislation, a new bill once again failed to get the support needed to pass the Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee.
Patients Rights Action Fund president, JJ Hanson, a brain cancer patient himself, noted that, “States in all regions of the country are rejecting assisted suicide.”
“In my case, as a brain cancer patient, I was told twice by doctors, ‘Your time is done.’ They told me basically that I was dead. As good as they are, doctors can make mistakes. Legislators from both political parties don’t want to put themselves in the position of making that choice for their constituents facing serious disease or prognoses. They realize there are more dignified and compassionate options than simply handing patients like me an overdose of pills.”