Alexandra Snyder, Executive Director
Life Legal Defense Foundation
Robert, a friend of my parents, was diagnosed with “terminal” brain cancer early last year. Doctors told him he only had four months to live. He struggled with depression after the diagnosis and planned to request a prescription for so-called “aid in dying” drugs. He wanted to control the time and manner of his death.
This grieved me. Robert bought the lie that choking down a lethal dose of barbiturates somehow leads to a “dignified” death. This is just one of many lies in the End of Life Option Act, California’s physician-assisted suicide law.
Note that Compassion and Choices, the George Soros funded group that drafted the Act, only considers one option at the end of life: suicide.
Life Legal filed our lawsuit challenging the assisted suicide law in June of last year, just a few months after Robert was diagnosed. The End of Life Option Act allows doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients deemed “terminally ill.” For purposes of the Act, a patient is “terminal” if he or she is expected to die within six months.
Last month, my parents visited their friend to see him one last time. He had already outlived his “terminal” diagnosis and they expected to find him near death. Instead, he surprised them with the good news that at his last exam, doctors were unable to find any tumors. He had a new lease on life!
What if Robert had taken the life-ending drugs on a difficult day when he believed his death was imminent?
We know, of course, that not every diagnosis ends in good news. But we also know that many patients outlive a “terminal” prognosis, even if only for a few weeks or months.
Jeanette Hall was deemed “terminal” because she refused treatment for colon cancer. She too planned to take the suicide drugs, calling them the “easy way out.” Thankfully, an oncologist convinced her to try chemotherapy, if only to see her son get married. Fifteen years later, Jeanette is celebrating life!
Since the End of Life Option Act was enacted, we have seen doctors whose only “treatment” is to write a prescription for life-ending drugs. We have seen “celebrations” where family and friends are gathered to watch someone commit suicide. We have seen Compassion and Choices aggressively promote suicide as the “humane and dignified” way to die—even when a person has life-saving medical options. We have talked to coroners who say they are now forced to lie about the cause of death since the Act forbids them from stating that a person who intentionally ingested drugs prescribed for the sole purpose of causing death committed suicide.
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