Signed on April 27, the new assisted suicide legislation will allow physicians to prescribe remotely “medication to be self-administered for the purpose of hastening the patient’s death.”
Patients can make requests “in the physician’s physical presence or by telemedicine, if the physician determines the use of telemedicine to be clinically appropriate, for medication to be self-administered for the purpose of hastening the patient’s death.”
A physician must still physically examine the patient, but it does not have to be the same one prescribing the life-ending drugs.
The doctor must affirm the patient “was suffering a terminal condition” and this must be “based on the physician’s review of the patient’s relevant medical records and a physician’s physical examination of the patient.”
The new legislation removes the restriction from the previous so-called “patient choice at end of life” laws that patients had to make their requests for noxious drugs in person.
Attorney and bioethics commentator Wesley Smith commented on the legislation for National Review and said it is another example of how guidelines to protect against the abuse of terminally ill patients are being eroded.
“Strict guidelines protect against abuse! Except they were never strict, and those that do exist are not intended to stick,” Smith wrote. “As soon as people become comfortable with doctors participating in their patients’ suicides, the ‘protections’ touted so loudly are suddenly redefined as ‘obstacles,’ and ‘access’ to facilitated death ‘is improved’ by making it easier to be made dead.”
“And cold cynics that assisted-suicide advocates are, they know that by the time their ruse becomes apparent, people won’t care anymore,” Smith wrote.