Thursday January 14, 2010

New Hampshire House Strikes Down Assisted Suicide Bill

By Kathleen Gilbert

CONCORD, New Hampshire, January 14, 2010 ( – The New Hampshire House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have legalized assisted suicide.

Lawmakers voted 242-113 to kill the measure. In November, the House Judiciary Committee had recommended against passing the bill by a wide margin, 14-3.

HB 304, introduced by Representative Charles Weed, would have allowed a “mentally competent person who is 18 years of age or older” who was deemed terminally ill to request a fatal drug through a written request.

“It’s not the function of government to encourage suicide in the young or the old,” said Committee Republican Rep. Nancy Elliott in November. “It’s a prescription for elder abuse.”

Local reports say that some members voted against the bill out of principled opposition to assisted suicide, while others said the measure’s language was flawed.

When a similar bill was introduced in 2006, the committee endorsed the legislation 15-5, but that bill later failed. The state currently has a law that explicitly prohibits assisted suicide.

Anti-euthanasia advocates hailed the demise of a bill that they say would have paved the way to abuse of vulnerable seniors and disabled persons.

“This vote proves that assisted suicide is a recipe for elder abuse and choice is a lie,” remarked Alex Schadenburg, chairman of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.


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