TESTIMONY TO THE HOUSE
As the State Director for Concerned Women for America of Hawaii, I join with my members here in Hawaii in opposing SB1129. There is no “Dignity for Death” when a person is helped to end their own life. God, and God alone, is the author of life. We must not take on the role of God and take life based upon our inconsistent judgment.
Here are just some of the many concerns we have about physician-assisted suicide:
- There are not sufficient safeguards against coercion and elder abuse. At least one in ten elderly people is the victim of domestic abuse which is difficult for a healthcare provider to identify. Because any doctor can write a lethal prescription, an abuser can “doctor shop” until they find a provider willing to assist them in killing their victim.
- Oregon, the first state to legalize assisted suicide, provides the most complete data available on the practice of assisted suicide in the United States. Oregon reports that individuals primarily choose assisted suicide because of reasons related to a disability: loss of autonomy, loss of enjoyable life activities and loss of dignity.
- Modern medicine has made significant advances in pain control. Doctors now have a range of options to treat pain in terminally ill patients, including even palliative sedation as a last resort.
- Oregon reports that the dominant reasons motivating patients to choose assisted suicide have nothing to do with pain management. The primary concerns center around having a disability: losing autonomy (92%), being less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable (90%), and losing dignity (79%). Fear of inadequate pain control is one of patients’ least cited reasons.
- A physician will also have to play the role of God to conclusively determine the timeline of a person’s life, regardless of how conclusive a diagnosis may seem at any given time.
- The physician will also have to conclusively determine that a person is of “sound mind” when persons are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
- Physician’s assisted suicide preempts the possibility of a favorable change in the patient’s health. It also might be so premature that we can erroneously make a permanent decision based on a temporary health situation.
God has given us the gift of life, He is the only one who can take it away. We are asking you to vote NO on SB1129.
Barbara J. Ferraro
Concerned Women for America of Hawaii
P.O. Box 10732
Hilo, HI 96721