With physician-assisted suicide legal in
neighbouring Washington and Oregon, Idaho legislators have introduced a bill to
ban it in their state. It would make assisting another person in a suicide (or an
attempted suicide) a crime. The state attorney-general says that Idaho does not
have a statute banning assisted suicide.
However, the legislation also offers
protections to health care workers who follow a patient’s end-of-life
directive. It also protects workers who offer medication to relieve pain or discomfort, as long as the
medication isn’t intentionally given to cause death.
The Idaho Medical Association supports the
bill. Susie Pouliot, the group’s CEO, says that that Idaho physicians don’t
support assisted suicide.
The head of legal affairs for Compassion
& Choices, the leading euthanasia lobby in the US, Kathryn Tucker, is an
Idaho resident. She claims that the bill would be “an infringement on an
essential human liberty.”
“I believe it would frighten physicians who
are trying to treat what are sometimes very difficult symptoms,” she says. ~ Idaho
Reporter, Feb 5