Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Hampshire Bill to Legalize Death with Dignity Rejected by Committee.

From WMUR comes this development in the effort to legalize aid in dying in New Hampshire:

A bill to legalize assisted suicide in New Hampshire lost key backing Tuesday from a legislative committee when both supporters and opponents joined forces to reject it.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 14-3 against the Death With Dignity bill, which would let terminally ill patients over age 18 obtain lethal prescriptions, with safeguards to prevent abuses.

Supporters of assisted suicide said the bill was flawed and teamed up with opponents to vote against recommending the measure to the full House. The committee has been working on the bill since September.

The House votes on the recommendation in January. If the chamber accepts the committee recommendation, legislative rules make it nearly impossible for the issue to be brought up again next year.

Rep. Nancy Elliott, a committee member who opposes assisted suicide, said she was pleased with the panel's decision.

"It's not the function of government to encourage suicide in the young or the old," she said. "It's a prescription for elder abuse."

Elliott, R-Merrimack, said both sides were opposed for slightly different reasons.

Rep. Lucy Weber, who made the motion to reject the bill, said she supports legalizing assisted suicide, but the bill did not take into account an existing state law against aiding someone to commit suicide.

"There are no death squads in this bill. There are no lethal injections in this bill. This bill is not allowing doctors to make a determination of when somebody's life ends nor is it allowing the state to determine when the life ends. It is about individual self-determination, but I think (the bill) needs more work," said Weber, D-Walpole.
Read more here.

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