(WLAD radio) Sen. McLachlan: In states where assisted suicide has been approved, suicide rates have increased.

March 21, 2013

Article as it appeared on WLAD.com

Conn. lawmakers hear testimony on suicide bill
Posted 2013-03-21 12:49:00

A legislative committee has held a public hearing about a bill that would allow a physician to prescribe medication to a dying patient who wants to end their own life.

Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says this bill tells Connecticut residents that suicide is an acceptable solution to life’s hardships. He calls it a dangerous precedent that will legitimize suicide.

McLachlan says in states where assisted suicide has been approved suicide rates have increased. 13 years after assisted suicide passed in Oregon, the suicide rate was 41% higher than the national average.

The Director of Massachusetts Second Thoughts, a grassroots organization representing people with disabilities, John Kelly opposed the bill. He said there were 3,800 cases of elder abuse reported a few years ago in Connecticut and called this bill a ticket for murder.

He says there are no safeguard for abuse. Kelly argued that lawmakers should instead consider increased access to hospice care, adequate staffing in nursing homes and required training in pain management.

But advocates say the bill is a humane way to give dying and suffering patients a choice.

Proponents said the Public Health Committee’s hearing Wednesday marked the first time such legislation has been brought to a public hearing in Connecticut. The bill will likely be retooled before it faces a committee vote.

The committee has until April 5 to act on the bill.