“End of life” study bill up for N.H. House vote May 11

Senate Bill 426, about studying end-of-life choices, will be up for a vote in the New Hampshire House this week. The session is scheduled for May 11 and might carry over to May 12 due to the House’s lengthy agenda. While an amendment to SB 426 has been proposed, the bill remains a gift to assisted-suicide advocates and should be killed by the House. The Senate let it get by with a voice vote. It deserves a roll call in the House.

An amendment offered by Sen. Dan Feltes (D-Concord) and Rep. Robert Rowe (R-Amherst) – the latter a firm opponent of euthanasia – would take out the words “aid in dying” from the list of things to be considered by the study commission. I salute the effort while believing that it’s not enough to salvage the bill. The language that’s left says “The commission’s study shall include, but not be limited to…”[Emphasis added.] That’s where any member of the proposed study commission could put assisted suicide on the table as a topic for exploration. 

[Here’s a link to my earlier post on the bill.]

The House Judiciary Committee voted 9-7 to recommend “ought to pass with amendment” on SB 426. I urge you and your House representatives to ponder the minority report written by Rep. Joseph Hagan (R-Chester), who by the way is a physician.

“The minority believes that bill would give a forum for the
well-funded proponents of physician-assisted suicide to drive discussion of other issues, which were in the committee
amendment, out of deliberations. While we strongly believe in improving palliative care for the terminally
ill, the minority can not support any process that violates human dignity by actively terminating human lives.”

Any bill that purports to be about care at the end of life must firmly, unequivocally, and explicitly rule out assisted suicide and euthanasia as acceptable choices for study. SB 426 fails that test, even with the proposed amendment.

Here’s contact information for House members.

[Update: SB 426 was killed in the House on May 11.]

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