New Mexico politicians are hoping to ring in the new year by passing the most liberal euthanasia legislation in the country. House Bill 90, up for consideration in 2019, would virtually legalize assisted suicide in all 50 states.
The bill, filed by New Mexico Democrat Deborah Armstrong on Dec. 19, permits assisted suicide to be performed on someone with an unspecified “terminal prognosis” by nurses and physician assistants. Individuals with mental health disorders would also be eligible to die via assisted suicide.
Schadenberg points out that the bill “replaces a the normal 6 month terminal diagnosis with the undefined term: ‘foreseeable future,’” expanding the potential list of candidates indefinitely.
“What does it mean that a terminal illness may cause death in the foreseeable future?” he writes.
Further, the bill does not honor conscience rights for health care providers who oppose assisted suicide, but instead requires these physicians to refer patients to a doctor who is willing to prescribe assisted suicide.
The legislation’s most troubling provision notes that assisted suicide may be approved via telemedicine, meaning that non-residents would be eligible for life-ending procedures in New Mexico. Writing for Life News last week, Schadenberg notes that this could make the state a “suicide tourism” destination for those seeking to prematurely end their lives.
“HB 90 is so wide you could drive a hearse through it,” he writes.
Euthanasia is currently legal in six states, as well as Washington, D.C. Back in April, Hawaii became the latest state to legalize assisted suicide.
In the most recent legislative session, the New Mexico Senate struck down an assisted suicide bill with a 22 to 20 vote.
What distiguishes HB 90, however, is its unprecedented disregard for the dignity of the human person.
As I wrote back in 2017, dying with dignity means choosing and fighting for life until the very end. It means fully acknowledging one’s own humanity, and the humanity of others. It means understanding that life is always and unequivocally — from conception to natural death — a gift.
Let’s pray that in 2019, New Mexico legislators would understand the true meaning of “death with dignity,” and that they would do everything in their power to defend the sanctity of human life.