Senate Rejects Assisted Suicide

drug assortment

The New Hampshire Senate today killed SB 490 on a 12-10 vote. This attempt to establish an “end-of-life study committee” would have been a step toward an assisted suicide law for New Hampshire, as the sponsor made clear in her speech introducing the bill. This vote is a statement that New Hampshire does not want to go down that road.

The twelve senators voting Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) on SB 490: Senators Bob Giuda (R-Warren), James Gray (R-Rochester), Harold French (R-Franklin), Ruth Ward (R-Stoddard), Gary Daniels (R-Milford), Kevin Avard (R-Nashua), John Reagan (R-Deerfield), Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead), Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), Chuck Morse (R-Salem), William Gannon (R-Sandown), and Dan Innis (R-New Castle).

Opposing the ITL motion: Senators Jeff Woodburn (D-Whitefield), Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), David Watters (D-Dover), Martha Hennessey (D-Hanover), Andy Sanborn (R-Bedford), Jay Kahn (D-Keene), Bette Lasky (D-Nashua), Dan Feltes (D-Concord), Kevin Cavanaugh (D-Manchester), and Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth).

Absent: Sens. Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry) and Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester).

Cornerstone thanks the senators who voted ITL. Contact information for senators is at this link.

Sens. Giuda, Daniels, and Gannon spoke against the bill during today’s floor debate. Sen. Soucy was the only Democrat to vote ITL, and her vote was critical to passage of the ITL motion.

Respect for the dignity of human life won when SB 490 lost.

Honest discussion of end-of-life issues in New Hampshire has to begin with calling assisted suicide by its right name. Any “study” that leaves open the possibility of legalizing the prescription of an intentionally lethal dose of drugs is a measure that advances assisted suicide.

It’s imperative that New Hampshire policymakers continue to reject bills that might lead to assisted suicide being viewed as an acceptable medical treatment. It is a short step from legalizing assisted suicide to forcing taxpayers to fund it as a covered service for Medicaid and Medicare. When the need to cut healthcare costs is of great concern nationwide, we need to be vigilant that a cheap lethal pill doesn’t become the solution. Refuse to put a price tag on human dignity.

Neutrality on assisted suicide is never acceptable public policy. The New Hampshire Senate, by a narrow margin, refused to be neutral. The twelve senators who voted ITL on SB 490 deserve our thanks.

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