Senate Republican Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Senator Paul Davis Announces Press Conference to Oppose Death with Dignity Bills
Who: Opponents of Death with Dignity Bills, LD 347 and LD 1066
What: Press Conference
Where: State House, Room 425
When: Tuesday, April 4 at 11:30 AM
Stephanie Packer will share her first-hand account of how the recently-instituted Death with Dignity legislation in California has directly affected her. Packer has traveled to Maine with her caregiver to warn that the Death with Dignity Physician Assisted Suicide bills are not what they appear to be. Packer was a staunch advocate opposing California’s Death with Dignity Act.
Stephanie Packer is a southern California mom of four who has survived longer than her doctors predicted. In 2012, after suffering a series of debilitating lung infections, she was diagnosed with scleroderma—a rare disease causing hardening of the skin and other organs—affecting her lungs.
Packer states, “Regardless of how carefully these bill may or may not be crafted, there are unintended consequences. The bills’ proponents tout dignity, choice, compassion and painlessness. I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Changing law to make suicide a medical treatment will affect everyone in Maine—even those who do not choose the Death with Dignity Act. Choice is really an illusion for a very few. For too many, it could be the only medical treatment which they could afford.”
“I am a case in point. When my insurer in California denied my medical treatment shortly after the Death with Dignity legislation was enacted, I called them and was upset that they were no longer covering the treatment which had previously been provided. I asked them what treatment would be covered, and I asked them if my insurance would cover the Death with Dignity Act. I was told yes, my insurance plan would cover that, but I would have a $1.20 co-pay.”
Assisted suicide has been attempted more than 100 times in the past 20 years, but is legal in only five states. “The suicides are not always pleasant and for many terminal patients, it is very difficult to ingest the prescribed 90-100 capsules required for the lethal ingestion. There are reports of patients utilizing the “Death with Dignity Act” who have had convulsions when attempting to ingest the lethal drugs. This is certainly not compassionate.” She adds, “As healthcare costs escalate, do you think insurers will offer quality treatment or the cheaper treatment?”
In Oregon, legalization of assisted suicide was followed by a 49% increase in suicides by people who were not terminally ill. Today, Oregon’s suicide rate is 41 % higher than the national average. Suicide is not a compassionate medical treatment for anyone, especially those who may feel isolated and frightened of the future. Hospice and palliative care offer true compassionate choices.
“If we allow physician assisted suicide, we are telling anyone who is weak, vulnerable or poor that they are a burden. What would passage of these bills signal to our teens already at risk for suicide— that some suicide is ok, while other suicide is not ok?” LD 347 and LD 1066 are not safe for Maine.