Let’s Not Move N.H. Toward Assisted Suicide (SB 490, 2018)

Cornerstone Action a New Hampshire non-partisan, non-profit pro-family advocacy organization. Among our concerns is public policy regarding the fundamental right to life. SB 490 threatens that right. On behalf of Cornerstone’s supporters statewide, I urge you to vote “inexpedient to legislate” on SB 490.

We appreciate Sen. Hennessey’s candor at the February 8 hearing on the bill, when she expressed support for what she called “medically assisted death.” We are not fooled by attempts to give better-sounding names to physician-assisted suicide.

Physician-assisted suicide is poor public policy, no matter what euphemism its supporters employ. We cannot support any study that is open to defining assisted suicide as a health care option.

The testimony provided by Sen. Hennessey renders the text of the bill less important than the chief sponsor’s intention. Yet even without the Senator’s testimony, looking strictly at the bill, we have serious concerns about end-of-life studies that do not explicitly rule out from the outset any recommendation for legalizing physician-assisted suicide. Whatever supporters of assisted suicide might say about “death with dignity,” there is no human dignity involved when a prescription that is written to end a human life is regarded as medical treatment.

Therefore, given our serious and well-founded concern that SB 490 represents an introduction to assisted suicide, I can’t simply leave you with a comment about whether we think an end-of-life study is a good idea. In view of Sen. Hennessey’s testimony, it is clear that with SB 490, assisted suicide is on the table as a long-term policy option. Our opposition to the bill rests on that.  Support for the bill as introduced is the same thing as support for assisted suicide.

Cornerstone since its founding has opposed assisted suicide legislation. Assisted suicide is a back-door cost-cutting measure that puts a dollar sign between patient and caregiver. Palliative, rehabilitative, and psychological care will always be more expensive than a lethal dose of a drug. There is no telling how many people will decide, with the state’s approval, that death is cheaper and therefore preferable. This is insidious coercion to which the elderly and people with disabilities will be particularly susceptible.

We recommend that you vote ITL on SB 490.

Testimony provided by Shannon McGinley, Executive Director.