Lawmaker warns about ‘back-door’ to euthanasia

FROM WND

Urges Schwarzenegger to veto plan supported by ex-Hemlock Society

By Bob Unruh

A state senator in California has launched a campaign to urge Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto a plan approved by the legislature because he describes it as a “back-door” to legalized euthanasia.

The legislation is called the “Terminal Patients’ Right to Know End of Life Options” Act, and WND already has reported how it would allow patients under certain conditions to be drugged and then starved to death.

“AB 2747 allows a physician assistant or a nurse to opine that a patient is ‘terminal,’ and then push for unnatural death by ‘palliative sedation,'” charged Randy Thomasson, chief of the Campaign for Children and Families. “Depressed patients who succumb to this pressure will be drugged unconscious and die from dehydration.”

Now state Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, a licensed oral surgeon, says he’s urging the governor to veto the proposal.

“The so-called end of life options act interferes with the medical care of people who just received the worst news of their lives,” Aanestad said in a statement sent to WND. “State government has no business intruding upon the doctor-patient relationship at that time, yet that is exactly what this bill does.”

He said the bill was sponsored by a group called Compassion and Choices, which formerly was known as the Hemlock Society and has advocated for physician-assisted suicide legislation in the past. A founder of the group has praised Dr. Jack Kevorkian for helping more than 100 people die.

“I want the governor to clearly know that this measure cloaked as compassion is actually sponsored by a group of people who want to give physicians the legal right to take part in the death of another person,” said Aanestad. “Failing to do that in the past, they have introduced this measure as a small first step which looks innocent, but opens the door to further ‘end of life’ intrusions.”

Further, he said, “It also bothers me that this legislation is a back-door approach for advocates of euthanasia. AB 2747 contains language that can easily be amended in the future to include other treatments than those it now includes – treatments like those advocated by the bill’s sponsor, the former Hemlock Society.”

Aanestad noted dozens of individuals and groups representing cancer patients, minority rights groups, members of religious communities and hospitals spoke before the Senate Health Committee in opposition to the idea.

Aanestad said he believes patients facing terminal illness need information based on who they are as individuals, not an intrusion into their relationship with their doctor.

“Patients don’t need their doctors to dispense a laundry list developed by Sacramento politicians,” he said. “It’s downright cruel to take a list of treatments that may not even apply to a patient and have the doctor say ‘here, this is what the State of California legislates I must tell you when you find out that you’re dying and you ask me what to do.'”

Annestad said part of the reason he became an oral surgeon was because of his belief that serving God means valuing human life.

“Patients facing a terminal illness have many needs. Among them are comfort, pain relief and information to make critical decisions,” he said. “They need dignity, respect and the support of those who love and care for them. They need prayer and the help of clergy, family and friends. What they don’t need is an intrusion into their relationship with their doctor.”

He said the requirement that doctors tell terminal patients “would have to be told that they could be sedated into a coma and stop eating and drinking.”

“It bothers me that AB 2747 leaves no option for the compassion of a doctor who knows her patient best. A cancer doctor caring for a depressed patient who says ‘What can I do?’ would have no recourse other than to do exactly as the bill mandates – give the information the California Legislature says she needs when they say she needs it,” he said.

Forty-two Democrats in California voted in favor of the plan: 30 Republicans and two Democrats opposed the plan.

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3 comments on “Lawmaker warns about ‘back-door’ to euthanasia

  1. Senator Sam Aanestad (R-Grass Valley) says he will urge Governor Schwarzenegger to veto AB 2747, the “Terminal Patients End of Life Information Act” when the bill lands on the Governor’s desk. Senator Aanestad, a licensed Oral Surgeon and Vice-Chair of the Senate Health Committee, has deep concerns about the effects of AB 2747 on patient care.

    Dozens of opponents testified against this measure during a recent marathon hearing of the Senate Health Committee. They included disability rights advocates, nursing organizations, doctors who care for cancer patients, minority rights groups, members of religious communities, hospitals and individuals whose lives and families are affected by this issue.

    Senator Aanestad believes that patients facing terminal illness need information based on who they are as individuals, not an intrusion into their relationship with their doctor.

    AB 2747 is opposed by numerous hospitals and other organizations including California Disability Alliance, California Family Council, California Nurses for Ethical Standards, Mercy San Juan Medical Center, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, and St. Mary’s Medical Center, San Francisco.

    The Governor may be contacted to request a veto:
    Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
    State Capitol Building
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Phone: 916-445-2841
    Fax: 916-558-3160 (new number)

  2. Lets be clear. Are we really talking about ending a life or rather not supporting the artificial extension of life? Should a person be required to sign a directive outlining the conditions they would not want to be supported by heroics? When one’s body function has reached its stage of transition to an end who has the right to deny them their natural demise? While we purpose to live, and live well now, that purpose may well be different later on when our minds and/or bodies have grown too tired to remain “awake”. Technology directed to extending life without hope of extending life quality is badly applied technology and the costs should be borne by those who participate in this decision process.

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