California’s assisted suicide law, the End of Life Option Act, was recently challenged with a preliminary injunction that could have blocked implementation of the law throughout the state. Judge Daniel Ottolia held the petitioning doctors and concerned citizens had standing, and the law could cause actual harm to Californians, but he also held that terminally ill individuals had a right to assisted suicide.
This Act is a dangerous law that has already resulted in loss of life, and destruction of families. Physician assisted suicide endangers the weak, and compromises families, according to recent research from the Heritage Foundation. Ryan T. Anderson writes, “Physician assisted suicide would harm our entire culture, especially our family and intergenerational obligations. The temptation to view elderly or disabled family members as burdens will increase, as will the temptation for those family members to internalize this attitude and view themselves as burdens. Physician-assisted suicide undermines social solidarity and true compassion.”
My own research published in an article entitled Women and Assisted Suicide: Exposing the Gender Vulnerability to Acquiescent Death, revealed that women are particularly vulnerable to acquiescant death even when they are not terminally ill. Of the 73 women who were assisted in their suicide in the 1990s only 1 was terminally ill. Because women are often life-long family caregivers, they may be without family support – the thing every person needs most - at times of illness, causing them to give up on life, seeing themselves as a burden even when they are not terminally ill.
Furthermore, the integrity of a family medical practice hangs in the balance. Americans United for Life has published a paper on the dangers of assisted suicide, and Life Legal Defense, another legal organization representing the petitioners “has obtained a death certificate from one of the first deaths by lethal prescription which shows that that the doctor who prescribed the drugs had only known the patient for three weeks.” Life Legal argues, “One of our many concerns about the law is that it will create popup clinics that only exist to help people kill themselves. It seems this is has already happened.”
Assisted suicide in any form compromises families, endangers the weak, and often destroys them and those they love.