New Hampshire Poised to Redefine “Terminally Ill” – to PWDs and others for Assisted Suicide Eligibility

Well, advocates for assisted suicide in New Hampshire can say – with a straight face – that the bill they’ve introduced is limited to people with “terminal conditions.”

The trick, of course, is that they’ve come up with a new and expansive definition of “terminal condition.”

How expansive?

Here’s a link to HB 304 – AN ACT relative to death with dignity for certain persons suffering from a terminal condition.

Definition of “terminal condition”:

XIII. “Terminal condition” means an incurable and irreversible condition, for the end stage of which there is no known treatment which will alter its course to death, and which, in the opinion of the attending physician and consulting physician competent in that disease category, will result in premature death.

Read that definition carefully, terminality is defined as having a condition that is irreversible and will result in a premature death. My partner would fit that definition. Many people I work with also fit the definition.

None of them are dying.

Keep in mind that this definition is to be used only in terms of eligibility for assisted suicide. It doesn’t, for example, apply to hospice services which are limited by federal rules to those who are deemed as having six months or less to live.

So, no guarantee of palliative care for people with significant disabilities or conditions, unless they’re thought to be close to death. That would be expensive.

OTOH, this bill would offer help with easy and successful suicide for anyone with a serious, significant, potentially life-shortening condition/disability at any time at all.

So, no guarantee of medical support to make life easier, but a “hand out” to those who want to die, even if they’re not dying.

I don’t think this can be written off as just sloppy wording. The sponsors involved are legislators, and if we assume competence on their parts, then we can also assume that they are fully aware of the importance of the specific definitions used in a bill when it comes to applying it in the real world as law.

Make no mistake. This bill, if passed, will guarantee an easy suicide to just about any person with diagnoses of quadriplegia, spinal muscular atrophy, HIV/AIDS, and many other conditions disabilities. Nothing to help people who could have many happy years with the right supports – just an easy and cheap out. –Stephen Drake

We’ve heard that the judiciary committee is holding a hearing on the bill on February 4th. No sign of the hearing on the NH legislature website and no mention in the press. That indicates that the people who got the early notice and probably already signed up to testify are supporters of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

5 thoughts on “New Hampshire Poised to Redefine “Terminally Ill” – to PWDs and others for Assisted Suicide Eligibility

  1. Every single person on dialysis would fit that definition. Even though some have lived 35 years or more on dialysis.

    This is worse than research, but I still wish we could get some publicity on a similarly hidden bil in Virginia allowing research on people who are “incapacitated” that is for the betterment of humankind and not expected to benefit the person deemed incapable. Hearing is 6 p.m. this Monday, February 2 in a mental health sub-committee of an Education Committee in Richmond, Virgnia’s General Assembly.

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