“It’s a slippery slope… No other medical procedure is considered a crime! Medical decisions should be private!”
“People should be free to choose medical procedures affecting them and their loved ones without worrying about the government punishing them!”
Such were the prevailing arguments in favor of House Bill 67, legislation that would protect doctors and other medical providers from criminal and civil penalties for killing certain classes of patients.
The Democrat-supported legislation would exempt from homicide law the medical practice of ‘palliative geriatric euthanasia’ for individuals over the age of 75 “who suffer from a chronic disease and are mentally incompetent to the point where they can no longer care for themselves.” Current law only allows the procedure with the consent of the patient’s next of kin or power of attorney. The law also requires that the collection of tissues have a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of less than 10 for 7 days consecutively and that their vitals and clinical status represents at least one element of sepsis criteria (fever, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, altered mental status, etc.) for 7 days consecutively. The proposal would expand the PGE criteria by allowing doctors to euthanize a substantially larger cohort and it would reduce penalties for PGE-related violations of the law.
The bill passed the split House by a small margin and is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Supporters told committees in both chambers that the current structure of New Hampshire law that allows for criminal prosecution and civil penalties for providers who treat their patients with PGE is unfair, unprecedented, violates their liberty and privacy, and will hurt doctors and patients alike.
“We already have a shortage of doctors in this state, especially geriatricians. Threatening them with prosecution and calling them felons for giving their patients palliative healthcare will do nothing to attract these doctors to our state.” Doctor Zedong, the Chief of Palliative Geriatric Medicine and Dartmouth Medical Center, told the Senate Committee during Thursday’s hearing. His sentiment was echoed by a number of doctors, nurses, and other pro-PGE citizens and lobbyists. The most common argument at today’s hearing was that healthcare providers do not have the time to consult with a lawyer before each procedure, especially when seconds count. “While we are deliberating over whether we can legally conduct the PGE procedure or provide other palliative care, the collection of tissues is distracting us from treating other patients. The current law hurts our patients and threatens all medical providers. The few remaining palliative doctors in this state will leave if we do not pass this law…”, Margaret Brown, a nurse-midwife from southern New Hampshire told the committee.
Opponents of HB67 testified to the five Senators on the Judiciary Committee that it’s insulting, dehumanizing, and disturbing to refer to humans who are alive and viable as ‘collections of tissues’. They argued that homicide is applied to all people, and that even doctors should not be above the law. One woman explained that she would actually prefer if homicidal physicians stayed away from New Hampshire. Many citizens invoked God and their spiritual belief that all life is sacred in their testimony against the bill. “If we play God and determine which humans can be killed with impunity…if we classify some people as subhuman…we are lost as a species and are reduced to animals.”, one young woman said through tears. Others reminded the Committee members that all hospitals already have lawyers who create policies that all of their employees must comply with, so keeping homicide illegal would hardly throw a wrench into the medical-legal system.
One paramedic joked that under the ridiculous premise of PGE being ‘healthcare’, he should be allowed to kill his patients who are severely ill or mortally injured. “If the test for whether an act is considered homicide depends solely on whether the victim could live unassisted by intervention by other humans or medical devices or treatments…I could kill half of the patients I encounter with impunity! So…would I be prosecuted if I killed all patients who rely on ventilators, blood transfusions, medications, LVADs, CABGs, transplants, AICDs, and other interventions?”
Those who support PGE believe that if a person cannot survive on their own without any medical intervention, their lives should be able to be terminated with impunity. A person should not be forced by law to bear the financial and emotional burden of keeping such a parasite alive, they argue. Others believe that such a standard could be tantamount to a slippery slope leading to the mass killing of people on ventilators, babies, and millions of people with various forms of disabilities.
Now apply all of these arguments to the idea of killing a baby in the final month of pregnancy, up to the moment of birth. While this article was largely satirical, House Bill 224 would repeal the penalties for the recently passed ‘Fetal Life Protection Act’ which protected viable babies beyond the six-month mark of gestation (at which point more than half are viable if delivered) from being murdered with impunity. Current law does allow abortions in cases involving fatal anomalies and severe risk to the health of the mother. Radical abortionists have been clear that they support legalizing infanticide up to the moment of birth (and possibly beyond). This bill narrowly passed a split House.
UPDATE: This bill has been killed in the Senate by a vote of 14-10!
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