Contact your State Senator and State Representative now. Tell them you support the Assisted Suicide Ban Act HB96 (Rep. Mack Butler) and its companion bill SB198 (Sen. Phil Williams). House Information: (334) 242-7600 – Senate Information: (334) 242-7800, to voice your concerns with your legislators NOW!
Ask them to pass this legislation to insure that Alabama protects life until natural death. Alabama must not join the five states plus the District of Columbia who have already legalized assisted suicide and the other 21 states that are currently considering legislation to legalize “assisted suicide” which redefines the concept of medical good as never before. Our state has long supported its commitment to protect and preserve all human life at every stage. As this legislation states, the state has an interest in protecting vulnerable groups, such as the impoverished, the elderly, and disabled persons from abuse, neglect, and mistakes. The state also has an interest in protecting the integrity and ethics of the medical profession.
Assisted suicide laws clearly violate fundamental medical ethics. Without protections from assisted suicide in Alabama, the elderly, individuals with special needs, and the mentally ill will become targeted for assisted suicide as they have in other states. Alabama is one of the few states that currently has no statute directly addressing assisted suicide. The U. S. Supreme Court has upheld state bans on assisted suicide, and it is time for the Alabama Legislature to take action by passing the Assisted Suicide Ban Act.
In states that have legalized physician assisted suicide (PAS) there are few protections for those with mental health problems. Even in Oregon and California, where the law calls for counseling where the physician thinks the patient may have psychiatric or psychological disorder or depression, less than 4% of those who received a prescription were referred to counseling. Inadequate pain control was identified as a concern in only 1/4 to1/3 of the cases. If the reason for the decision is not physical, it is safe to assume that more patients should have received professional counseling other than from their physician. With such laws, there is nobody to hold the physician accountable. The laws allow too much latitude for physicians to rely on their own opinions in their practices. PHYSICIANS NEED TO HELP SUCH DISTURBED PATIENTS, NOT KILL THEM.
In a recent U. S. Senate hearing, Dr. G. Kevin Donovan, professor of pediatrics and director of clinical bioethics at Georgetown University, stated: “In medicine we know that what is permissible becomes habitual, and what is habitual becomes standard care, and what is [the] standard of care becomes obligatory.” We must protect life at all stages and remember the oath doctors take to “first do no harm.”