Connecticut is poised to pass what is euphemistically called An Act Concerning Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients giving doctors the permission to kill patients who want to be killed. This law failed to pass last year because of some clever parliamentary maneuvering by opponents. But polls show 63% approval for this legislation.
This bill is just the beginning of a large social trend that decades from now will result in the killing of the disabled, those suffering from severe psychiatric disorders and the indigent elderly. It will also put pressure on the elderly with assets to end their lives prematurely so that their heirs can enjoy their inheritance early.
This bill complicates physician-assisted suicide with many bureaucratic hurdles. The individual who wishes to die must have a letter from two doctors at least 15 days apart that states the patient has a terminal illness that will result in death in six months. Furthermore, a psychiatrist must document that the patient is in a sound mental state. Once approved, the physician writes a proscription for a deadly potion that the patient takes on his or her own accord.
The problem with this legislation is that it is impractical.
First of all, who knows if someone is going to die in six months? Secondly, many patients requesting this have transportation and motility issues, and find it hard to go to multiple appointments. But the big problem is the deadly potion itself.
Patients wishing to end their lives often have swallowing and malabsorption issues. Thus, so-called “death with dignity” becomes an unpleasant ordeal that frequently results in an emergency department visit, and if anecdotal evidence is to be believed, “death by pillow” – when a family member attending the death scene smothers the patient with a pillow.
Thus, states that have passed similar legislation, have seen very little demand. California, with a population of 40 million, had only 486 deaths via physician-prescribed suicide potions in 2021.
The advocates of physician-assisted suicide know this. Their goal is to simply get their foot in the door and later enact further legislation that co-opts doctors to kill patients directly with intravenous injections of poisons. Then the slaughter really begins; as is happening in Canada now.
Canada, with a population of 40 million (the same as California), has had doctors kill nearly 10,000 patients in the past year, over 3% of deaths. Canada has socialized medicine but does not allow private pay, thus Canadians endure long wait times or outright denials for treatment while wealthy Canadians simply come to the United States for care and pay out of pocket. Thus, poorer Canadians are opting for physician-assisted suicide rather than living without treatment and services the government refuses to cover.
One woman with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) opted for physician-assisted suicide because the government denied her adequate home care. Another opted for the same demise after she could not find accommodations for her multiple allergies. Alan Nichols, 61-year-old depressed man, was killed even though his only other affliction was decreased hearing – outraging his family.
Can this happen in the United States? The answer is it already has. A 36-year-old patient suffering from severe anorexia nervosa (an eating disorder that results in self-starvation) was killed by her doctor in Colorado.
Can this happen in Connecticut? Certainly. Abortion clinics are disproportionately located in minority areas to encourage the procedure. Legislation is even being proposed to transport women – who will likely be poor minorities from other states – to Connecticut and finance their abortions. Once killing the inconvenient is socially acceptable, how long until the costly elderly and disabled are next?
Much of this could be avoided if patients understood their rights. Refusing treatment – especially antibiotics – results in a relatively quick painless death in the vast majority of patients. Both of my parents died peacefully at home surrounded by family by simply refusing treatment when the end of their lives was obvious.
Perhaps if most Connecticut residents were aware of the ramifications of this legislation, they would object. But Connecticut is governed by the uber-wealthy white secular elite who buy elections and this is what they want. The rest of us are just along for the ride.
Dr. Joseph Bentivegna is an ophthalmologist in Rocky Hill.