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April 18, 2005
CMA Doctor: CA Assisted Suicide Bill Simply Advances State Secrecy
This CMA press release does not address the ethical bankruptcy of assisted suicide but does point out the danger of California's bill from the perspective of government power. According to the CMA, although the legislation is touted as a benefit to freedom, in reality it provides a wall of secrecy for the government to hide behind. Here is the full CMA Statement:
The Executive Director of the Christian Medical Association today said a California bill to allow assisted suicide gives more power to the government--not to patients. Assemblywoman Patty Berg (D-Eureka), one of the bill's co-authors, told the Los Angeles Times that her bill, "is about whether you will uphold our civil rights to privacy."
Dr. Stevens noted, "The truth is that this bill establishes a dangerous right to privacy for the government. As in Oregon, the California assisted suicide bill includes a state secrecy clause that prevents the public, the media or watchdog groups from reviewing the evidence."
The text of the bill, AB 654, says, "The information collected shall not be a public record and shall not be made available for inspection by the public. The department shall generate and make available to the public an annual statistical report..."
Dr. Stevens explained, "So of course every year the state will, as in Oregon, trot out sanitized statistics that no one can dispute because state bureaucrats keep the details secret. If you want to give more power to the state and less power to citizens, this is the way to do it.
"Government bureaucrats will obviously protect the state's reputation by keeping potentially damaging details secret. How many governors or health department bureaucrats are going to call a news conference to admit that under its ineffective laws and shoddy oversight, its citizens choked to death, lingered on for days after taking lethal pills, or were put to death without their consent?
"We know from studies in the Netherlands, with statistics gained from doctors who responded on condition of anonymity, that assisted suicide and euthanasia is a messy business, fraught with 'failures' to kill the patient immediately. Three reports from the Netherlands have documented that 18-25% of the patients who take lethal drugs prescribed by Dutch physicians do not die from the pills. The same dose of the same drug is used in Oregon, yet state bureaucrats will not admit a single instance of a problem. That may not be believable, but it's not surprising given the negative publicity it would mean for the state.
"This bill is being promoted falsely as a bill to give more power to patients. In fact, it gives more power to the state."
Posted by tim at April 18, 2005 12:21 PM
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