Assisted suicide via lethal drugs bill one step away from becoming law after passing Senate

In a sad turn of events in New Mexico, the state Senate approved one of the most extreme assisted suicide via lethal drugs bills to the House of Representatives to concur with the amendments, then to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for her signature. The Governor promised to sign the radical anti-life bill that will jeopardize those living with terminal conditions.

The bill passed despite bipartisan opposition to the radical measure, with a final vote of 24-17. Democrats, Pete Campos of Las Vegas, George Muñoz of Gallup, and Benny Shendo Jr. of Jemez Pueblo joined Republicans in voting against the measure. Despite invoking his Catholic faith and saying he attended mass at the Cathedral, Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Doña Ana) voted with anti-life Democrats to approve the bill.

During debate. Sen. Gregg Schmedes (R-Tijeras) said, “My concern is that when we legalize this practice, as we’ve seen in other states, the overall suicide rate goes up.” He added, “When I use the word ‘suicide,’ I don’t use it flippantly. Suicide’s the intentional taking of your life.”

The bill, which is opposed by multiple disability rights groups, the Navajo Nation, and many patients living with terminal conditions, seeks to further normalize a culture of death in New Mexico by letting medical professionals prescribe lethal drugs to patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness that could take their lives anytime up to six months.

The bill would legalize doctors to prescribe a “cocktail” of lethal drugs to patients suffering from terminal illnesses, which will save insurance companies money. 

During the bill’s hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sunday, the “expert witnesses,” law professor Robert Schwartz and physician Steven Kanig could not even list the drugs that would be prescribed to end an individual’s life and admitted that there is no set “cocktail” that is used. Schwartz claimed the concoction of harmful drugs “has been refined over the years” and that “these drugs do change.”

H.B. 47, which devalues human life and dangerously violates ethical codes in medicine, is sponsored by anti-life extremist Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D-Bernalillo) and a few other partisan Democrats in the Legislature. 

Gov. Lujan Grisham’s press secretary Nora Sackett said in a statement, “The governor has been a lifelong advocate for seniors and their independence, as well as for the importance of dignity and respect in making choices about one’s own health and treatment.” 

The American Medical Association (AMA) itself decries assisted suicide as an affront to the practice of medicine. According to the American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics Medical Opinion 5.7

“Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.” 

“Instead of engaging in assisted suicide, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life. Physicians:

Should not abandon a patient once it is determined that cure is impossible.

Must respect patient autonomy.

Must provide good communication and emotional support.

Must provide appropriate comfort care and adequate pain control.

In Oregon and California–states that allow assisted suicide–patients have been denied payment for treatments to save their lives, but have been told that less-costly lethal drugs would be covered. Assisted suicide creates a strong economic incentive to deny treatment, which is the antithesis of the above medical ethics mandate from the AMA to provide appropriate comfort care and adequate pain control. 

According to official numbers from Oregon, suicide in the general population in the state is 40% above the national average during the 20 year period that Oregon has had legal assisted suicide. 

In July, it was reported that New Mexico’s suicide rate was the highest in the nation. This bill would further encourage suicide as a socially acceptable alternative to life–a dangerous mindset to place in the minds of people young and old living in our state. By embracing more death and treating people who have a terminal illness as expendable, New Mexico would be dehumanizing individuals and treating them as a burden. 

In Canada, where assisted suicide is legal for the ill and the elderly, they are now trying to force through assisted suicide for people who have disabilities, claiming it will save health care costs (as the country has a socialized medicine system). They are threatening patients, such as a man named Roger Foley, who has cerebellar ataxia, a degenerative neurological condition, giving him only two options: pay $1,800 per day to remain in a hospital after he was mistreated at a government-assigned agency home care center, or kill himself with life-ending drugs. The legalization of H.B. 47 would usher in Canada’s so-called “progressive” policies, ultimately leading to disabled people being included in future bills to kill themselves because they are given impossible choices such as the one Mr. Foley had.

Also, the unsafe life-ending drugs used in the killing of these terminally ill patients would force patients to agree to the below statement that they understand it could take longer than three hours of excruciating pain for them to finally be poisoned to death:

“I understand the full import of this request, and I expect to die if I self-administer the medical aid in dying medication prescribed. I further understand that although most deaths occur within three hours, my death may take longer.” 

As Charlie Camosy, a bioethics professor in the theology department of Fordham University in New York said, “A medical system that kills is no longer recognizable as healing and caring.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Deb Armstrong (D-Bernalillo) gleefully rejoiced the final Senate passage of the anti-life bill, writing on Twitter, “This is a tremendous win.”

The bill, which was amended on the Senate floor, now goes to the state House of Representatives. The House already has approved the bill, but will need to approve the amendments. Then it will go to the Governor’s desk for a signature, ushering an even more aggressive culture of death in New Mexico, following the passage of S.B. 10, a bill legalizing abortion up-to-birth and infanticide and stripping all protections for women, medical professionals, and babies in the womb.

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