N.H. “End of Life Study” Bill Advances Without Protective Language

The New Hampshire House voted 214-140 to pass HB 291, establishing a committee to study end-of-life care. Sponsors of the bill made clear when the bill was introduced that if passed, the study committee would consider assisted suicide as one type of “care.”

The House rejected an amendment from Rep. Barbara Griffin that would have prevented assisted suicide from being a topic in the study. The vote on that was 146-208.

The bill now goes to the Senate. No hearing date has been announced.

More background on HB 291 here.

House Vote Thursday: Don’t Let Assisted Suicide Be Part of End-of-Life Study

It’s back: here’s another bill to “study” end of life issues, introduced by New Hampshire legislators who are open about their determination to include assisted suicide in any such study. HB 291 is scheduled for a House vote on Thursday, March 14.

(Update, March 14: bill was passed without amendment.) 

The House Judiciary Committee majority voted ought to pass on the bill. A minority on the committee is recommending an amendment to the bill that preserves the intent of studying palliative and other end-of-life care, while excluding any possibility of the bill being used to advance assisted suicide.

I’m going to contact my representatives to support “ought to pass with amendment” on HB 291, using amendment #2019-0767h. The committee minority report written by Rep. Barbara Griffin (R-Goffstown) says in part,

The minority believes that the bill also sends a message of suicide being acceptable in a time where concerns on rising rates of suicide and work for suicide prevention are the focus of other bills and an existing Council on Suicide Prevention. Similar legislation has been before this body before and has been vetoed twice by [former] Governor Hassan. The minority believes this bill should be amended to focus the committee work on palliative and hospice care for the populations dealing with not only end of life, but also complex health and disability issues.

I’ve lost count of the pro-assisted suicide bills that have gone down to defeat or veto in our state. I say add HB 291 to that list, unless it’s amended to exclude assisted suicide as an item on the “health care” menu.

You can find your representatives’ names and contact information at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/default.aspx.

Charlie Gard’s Human Rights

And now for something completely different, after a month filled with New Hampshire posts.

Read this from Aleteia: “Charlie Gard case raises questions about medical treatment and parental rights.”

Charlie Gard is an infant who at this writing is in a hospital in London, England. He was born severely ill with a “rare, fatal condition” (quoting the Aleteia post).

Charlie’s parents want to bring him to the United States for an experimental therapy. They are prepared to pay for the treatment. There’s just one catch: the hospital won’t release their baby to them, and the hospital’s been backed up by the European Court of Human Rights.

Time to let the little tyke “die with dignity,” say the experts. Reportedly, the hospital is now free to remove whatever life support is being used for Charlie’s benefit.

I believe that there is such a thing as burdensome care, and no one has a moral obligation to accept it. I also believe that when a government tells parents that they can’t take their sick child for care at a facility that’s not under the control of that government, something’s very wrong.

I have to wonder: if the parents wanted to hasten their son’s death via active euthanasia, would the hospital and the Court be resisting them?

This is a terrible situation, though I won’t say “terrible case” because Charlie’s a child, not a case. No happy outcome is likely, by any earthly measure. Aggravating the situation is the fact that it’s now been established that in England, a government-run health care facility can deny custody of a disabled child to parents who are willing and able to seek treatment for that child.

That’s enough to give government-run health care a bad name. One may hope such decisions would never be made here. I suspect Charlie’s parents didn’t think it would happen in England.

Quebec physicians warn of abuses in assisted suicide

Canada’s highest court handed down its Carter decision last February striking down the nation’s laws against assisted suicide and giving legislators twelve months to craft new rules and standards of oversight. The push to legalize active euthanasia is on. Quebec’s Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice has just released a video featuring a family’s appeal to keep that legalization from happening.

Keep this family in mind when assisted suicide legislation returns locally – as it will.

(My thanks to Nancy Elliott and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition for bringing my attention to this video. Alex Schadenberg of EPC has a blog where you can find more information about the situation in Canada.)

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Carson says remarks re Schiavo taken “out of context”

Dr. Ben Carson (photo by Ellen Kolb)
Dr. Ben Carson (photo by Ellen Kolb)

I wasn’t the only voter whose eyebrows went way up after Dr. Ben Carson’s made his recent remarks regarding Terri Schiavo. He gave an exclusive interview to LifeSiteNews earlier this week to address the furor.

“I am steadfastly opposed to euthanasia. I have spent my entire career protecting life, especially the life of children….I regret that my recent comments about Terri Schiavo have been taken out of context and misinterpreted. When I used the term ‘much ado about nothing,’ my point was that the media tried to create the impression that the pro-life community was nutty and going way overboard with the support of the patient.”

The article continued, “[Dr. Carson] told LifeSiteNews that his off-the-cuff remarks to a reporter from the Tampa Bay Times meant that doctors should allow terminally ill patients to refuse heroic medical treatment, not to deny food and water to someone diagnosed in a persistent vegetative state (PVS).”

I’m pleased that the good doctor acknowledged the concerns raised by his earlier remarks. My particular concerns expressed in an earlier post persist. If what he means is that he flat-out refuses to tolerate starvation for patients with brain damage, that’s good news.