The State Legislature is in session! WRAL reports on NC’s decline by 26% in the number of abortions because of laws passed by our pro-life General Assembly: http://www.wral.com/nc-s-drop-in-abortions-is-among-nation-s-sharpest-since-2010/14695929/
NC House bills:
When the Health Committee voted on April 22, there was a committee substitute which took out a main provision we supported, the prohibition against UNC and ECU doing abortions and training ob-gyns to perform abortions. The bill title changed too. to become the 72 Hour Informed Consent By Person or Phone.
On April 23, this committee substitute passed the NC House along party lines, 74-45. See how they voted here. The bill is now in the NC Senate Judiciary II Committee headed by co-chairmen Senator Tamara Barringer, Senator Warren Daniel, and Senator Shirley Randleman. Please contact your Senator to support this 72 hour waiting period. You can find your state senator’s contact information by clicking here.
The Judiciary II Committee met on May 27 and took up a committee substitute to H465 called the Women and Children’s Protections Act of 2015. The bill contained the 72 hour informed consent provision but added many other provisions, some on which our organization takes a stand and do support: additional conscience protection for health care providers, conforming the medical emergency to the Woman’s Right to Know law, requiring additional documentation, including ultrasound pictures, to be sent to the DHHS for abortions after 16 and 20 weeks. Barbara Holt and Dr. Melinda Snyder, representing North Carolina Right to Life, spoke in favor of the bill as did others representing themselves and other organizations. The bill received a favorable report along party lines.
On May 28, the Senate debated the bill and rebuffed several amendments being offered to weaken or gut the bill. The bill passed second reading by a vote of 31-15, mostly along party lines. Click here to see how they voted. The opposition objected to third reading which was held Monday, June 1.
When the bill was debated, several friendly amendments were offered and accepted. The bill then passed 32 to 16, again mostly along party lines. Click here to see how they voted.
The bill then went to the House for a concurrence vote. On June 3, the House passed the bill by a vote of 71-43. Click here to see how they voted.
The Governor has said he will sign the bill into law. Be sure to thank Governor McCrory his support of the bill becoming law.
Please thank the Sponsors of the final bill: Reps. Jacqueline Schaffer, Pat McElraft, Rena Turner, and Susan Martin in the House and Senators Warren Daniel, Shirley Randleman and Joyce Krawiec in the Senate for their leadership in passing this new law. We are so grateful for their faithful service to unborn babies who have them as their advocates in the legislature.
H611, Death with Dignity Act (WE OPPOSE)
DID NOT MAKE CROSSOVER DEADLINE AND IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR CONSIDERATION
A woman who voted for Oregon’s Physician Assisted Suicide law, tells her experience: Click Here.
Contact your Representative. Click here to find out who your representative is and get his or her contact information.
North Carolina Right to Life strongly opposes HB 611 because it would further endanger an already vulnerable population while diminishing true end of life health care, emotional and psychological support, pain control, and palliative care.
The following purported “safeguards” in the bill are not really safeguards:
The so-called “terminally ill” safeguard: The bill purports to apply only to those who are terminally ill. However, “terminal illness” is difficult to predict, and in fact, the Oregon Department of Health has reported time spans as long as 3 years from the time of request of medications to the time of death.
The so-called “coercion” safeguard: The bill purports to impose a Class A Felony upon anyone who “coerces or exerts undue influence” upon another to request lethal medications to induce their death. However, this language is vague, and in practice, the law simply cannot prohibit anyone from pressuring a family member or another person to request assisted suicide. Since the end result is death, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to investigate or prosecute after the fact.
In fact, there are several cases out of Oregon where the Medicaid program sent letters denying expensive drugs (they now make phone calls), but reminded patients of suicide drugs. Barbara Wagner’s story is one example of the state using a type of coercion by reminding patients of suicide drugs after refusing to pay for treatments to help save or prolong a patient’s life . One is a news story and the other an ad Barbara Wagner did for Washington state. She holds up the letter. Click here. Next, click here.
“The patient must self-administer,” so it is not euthanasia. Although the statute claims to allow only those who can “self-administer” to request the lethal prescription, many legal observers argue that this is one court challenge away from being overruled. If, for example, there was a person with disabilities who could not swallow, there is an official legal opinion from the Oregon Attorney General’s office stating that this is unconstitutionally discriminatory. This means that lethal injection might be one legal challenge away. This could be the case in any state that legalized the practice of doctor prescribed death.
“Reporting requirements in the bill will ensure that deaths under the law can be tracked and allow the state to punish violations.” This will not work in practice because the law merely imposes a “good faith” standard upon doctors to report when a patient has requested a lethal dose of medication. There is actually no mechanism to ensure doctors report anything at all, and in Oregon and Washington, the death certificates are falsified by statute, listing only the underlying illness as the cause of death, making the real number of suicides unknowable.
“Only those who qualify as terminally ill will have access to the lethal doses of medication.” The law does not contain any mechanism to track the lethal medications to ensure they stay in the possession of those who requested them, and there is no way of doing so. The lethal doses of medications could wind up in virtually anyone’s hands. In fact, under Oregon’s identical definition, diabetics, those with HIV, and hepatitis have received lethal prescriptions.
Proponents of Assisted Suicide Claim it is needed to relieve pain:
The better response to patients who are in pain is to offer better pain control, not to kill the patient. Moreover, Oregon studies and reports show that in the vast majority of cases, people are requesting assisted suicide because they are depressed or they fear becoming a burden on their family and friends, not because they are in pain.
The law does not adequately protect those suffering from mental illness:
Even though it is a well-established fact that nearly every terminally ill patient who desires death is suffering from a treatable psychological disorder, HB611 does not even require a psychiatric evaluation. Instead, it allows patients to “doctor shop” among pro-suicide doctors who will inevitably have formed alliances among themselves to achieve death by suicide.
Once a lethal prescription has been requested and filled, the patient is abandoned to die, not provided true medical, psychological, and palliative care. North Carolinians deserve better. North Carolina Right to Life opposes HB611 and supports the provision of superior health care, better pain control, and, when needed, palliative care, to those facing difficult medical diagnoses.
I include an article from NRL News which summarizes some of these points and make others in opposition to physician assisted suicide. The article takes a look at the assisted suicide efforts from a national perspective: click here.
NC Senate bills:
DID NOT MAKE THE CROSSOVER DEADLINE AND IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR CONSIDERATION
The bill makes it unlawful to provide the means or participate in an act by which the individual attempts to commit suicide or does commit suicide or to help the individual plan to commit suicide.
The bill says it does not apply to the withholding or withdrawal of medical treatment. Additionally, it would not be unlawful to administer, prescribe, or dispense medications or procedures for the purpose of alleviating another person’s pain or discomfort as long as the medication or procedure is not for the purpose of assisting in causing the death for any reason.
It would make the manufacture, sale, distribution, or possession of devices for euthanasia unlawful.