Bill Would Authorize Assisted Suicide By Any Other Name in Arizona

By Peter J. Smith

  PHOENIX, Arizona, January 17, 2007 ( - A new bill proposed in the Arizona State Legislature would allow physicians to provide terminally-ill patients a prescription to kill themselves by lethal medication without calling it “assisted suicide”.

  HB 2572 submitted Tuesday by a group of Democratic legislators in the state House of Representatives, would allow a terminally ill patient with less than 6 months to live to request a prescription for lethal medicine from a physician or health care provider. However, the bill requires that the patient must self-administer the prescribed lethal poison, unless he suffers from a physical handicap.

  While the proposed measure does not permit doctors and other medical personnel to take a patient’s life via lethal injection, “mercy killing” or any active euthanasia, it does make the odd claim that “actions taken in accordance with this article do not constitute, for any purpose, suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing, or homicide.”

  The patient and medical protocols outline that patients would request a lethal prescription via oral and written request, and be judged competent to decide for himself to commit medicated suicide by a licensed psychiatrist/psychologist and have a medically confirmed terminal illness.

  A “conscience clause” allows a health care provider to excuse himself from fulfilling requests to prescribe drugs for suicide, but mandates that he “promptly transfer the responsibility” to another health care provider willing to assist in the requested suicide.

  The bill also protects licensed pharmacies from any legal liability for filling prescriptions for lethal medicines, and prohibits health care organizations and hospitals from discriminating against personnel who have previously participated in “aid in dying” -  the bill’s adopted moniker for physician-assisted suicide.

  The bill HR 2572, expands upon a bill previously submitted January 10, HR 2357, which allows a patient to prescribe himself medication controlling his own suffering, but says that if patient overdoses the medication, facilitating “the secondary effect of hastening death, this shall not for any purpose be constituted as suicide, assisted suicide.”

  Among the main proponents of the Bill is Rep. Linda Lopez, who has offered bills since 2003 to legalize assisted suicide in Arizona.

  Read the text of HB 2572 “Aid in Dying”<b>&CiEndHilite=</b>&CiHiliteType=Full

  Read the text of HB 2357 Allowing Terminally-ill Patients Control over Management of Suffering<b>&CiEndHilite=</b>&CiHiliteType=Full

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