Ohio Senator Seitz wants to make assisting suicide a felony

HB 470 sponsored by Senator Seitz of Cincinnati passed in the Ohio Senate on 12/8. (see cleveland.com article below)

However, Death with Dignity laws that legalize medical aid in dying are not considered suicide. Under these laws, a mentally competent, terminally ill adult requests and then ingests a lethal dose of medication made available through a doctor’s prescription. Their terminal illness must be confirmed by another doctor and any concern about mental illness must be evaluated by a mental health specialist. A person does not qualify solely because of age or disability. They may change their mind at any time. Please take the time to research death with dignity laws to understand this option: Death with Dignity National Center.

  • In Oregon, less than 1,000 people have chosen this option since it went into effect in 1997. Of the people who’ve received the prescription, 1/3 never used it. It seems to provide comfort in having a sense of control.
  • The greatest number of people who have used it had a terminal form of cancer. The second biggest user group had ALS.
  • 90% of the people were enrolled in hospice care (compared to 46% of medicare users nation wide) and 94% died at home.

Take a moment to learn the facts about the laws in Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California and soon in Colorado.

Ohio lawmakers consider making assisted suicide a felony
by Jeremy Pelzer, Cleveland.com, December 9, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio lawmakers are considering legislation that would for the first time impose criminal penalties for assisted suicide in the state.

House Bill 470, which may face a final Senate vote on Thursday, would make knowingly assisting in a suicide a third-degree felony in Ohio, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Currently, Ohio law only permits a court to issue an injunction against anyone helping other people to kill themselves.

If the Senate passes the bill on Thursday – expected to be the last day of the  legislative session – it would head to Gov. John Kasich for his signature. The measure passed the Ohio House 92-5 last May.

State Sen. Bill Seitz, the Cincinnati Republican who authored HB 470, said the legislation mirrors Michigan’s 1998 ban on assisted suicide, which was passed in response to Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s well-publicized campaign to help more than 130 terminally ill patients end their own lives.

Seitz said he wasn’t aware of anyone in Ohio who has or intends to assist in suicides. But he said HB 470 was introduced partially in response to concerns over a different bill on end-of-life care that some abortion opponents worried would be the first step toward legalizing assisted suicide in Ohio.

“We do believe in the MOLST bill,” Seitz said, referring to the other bill, which seeks to create the Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment. “But we also are firmly against assisted suicide. And how can we prove it to you? We’re going to make it a felony of the third degree if you do it.”

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