Pro-Life Wisconsin urges you to OPPOSE physician-assisted suicide...
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TO: Members, Wisconsin State Legislature
FROM: Matt Sande, Director of Legislation
RE: Opposition to Physician-Assisted Suicide Legislation: LRB-0888/1
Pro-Life Wisconsin urges you to OPPOSE physician-assisted suicide legislation (LRB 0888/1) now being circulated by Representative Pope and Senator Risser. The legislation would overturn current Wisconsin law specifically prohibiting assisted suicide.

Assisted suicide is decidedly unethical; it offers death as a final solution to elderly, disabled, depressed or terminally ill people, and thwarts the very meaning of care. Killing is not caring, and the Wisconsin Legislature should not permit it.

There is no dignity in death by suicide. Assisted suicide, no matter how compassionate it may seem on the surface, is nothing more than a cruel lie.  To the terminally ill, it tells them that there is no meaning to their life and that when they become a “burden” to themselves and others suicide is the easiest answer for everyone. It also robs them of something integral to the human spirit – hope. Real compassion takes time and commitment. It means standing by someone and bearing their burden.

LRB 0888/1 would permit an individual to “request and obtain a prescription for medication so as to end his or her life.” It would legalize assisted suicide for people over the age of 18 who have a “terminal disease” and who make an oral and written request to their attending physician for medication to kill themselves.  A physician who refuses to participate in the assisted suicide must make a good faith attempt to transfer the patient to another physician whom he or she knows will help kill the patient.  If the physician does not make an attempt to transfer, he or she may be charged with “unprofessional conduct.” In a stark denial of reality, the bill states that requesting and taking prescribed medication to end your life does not constitute “suicide.”

In an age of soaring healthcare costs and cutbacks, we must conscientiously fight the temptation to turn the healing art of medicine into a calculated cost/benefit analysis.  If this idea of physician assisted suicide should take hold in Wisconsin, how much longer until the “right to die” becomes the “duty to die?”  How much longer until those considered a “burden” on society are systematically denied healthcare and life-saving measures in order to cut costs?  Whose interest is really being served under physician assisted suicide – the patient’s or the provider’s?

So-called “death with dignity” forces routinely speak of patients dying in intractable pain. They call killing oneself a “basic human right” that should be constitutionally protected. Yet medical studies show that virtually all pain can be alleviated at the end of life. The World Health Organization has found that 95 to 100 percent of the pain experienced by people at the end of life can be adequately controlled. Instead of killing the pain, “death with dignity” activists focus on killing the patient. Few of them seem enthusiastic about educating healthcare professionals about the amazing advances in palliative care.

Prominent national disability groups, including Not Dead Yet, and medical groups, including the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, oppose physician-assisted suicide. “Published medical studies reveal that Dutch doctors administer lethal injections to roughly a thousand patients a year who never consent to their deaths. That's autonomy for doctors – not for patients," commented Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the Christian Medical Association, on the slippery slope of assisted suicide to active euthanasia. "The answer to patients suffering at the end of life is not to kill them, but to provide aggressive and appropriate relief from pain, compassionate counsel and unconditional love."  Christian Post Reporter

The message of Wisconsin’s pro-life community to you, our elected representatives in the state legislature, is simple: Have courage! Don’t take the low and hopeless road offered by assisted suicide. Be true to your call to protect Wisconsin’s most vulnerable citizens. Show true compassion to the disabled, elderly, depressed and marginalized. The great state of Wisconsin can do better than assisted suicide.

Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please call Matt Sande at our State Office: (262) 796-1111 X13.
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