Wisconsin Right to Life applauds the decision of the Wisconsin Medical Society (WMS) House of Delegates in rejecting a resolution this past weekend which would have placed the WMS in favor of legalizing doctor-prescribed suicide. It is the goal of the proponents of euthanasia and doctor-prescribed suicide (also known as assisted suicide) to garner the support of the medical community to convince state legislatures and the general public that this act should be legal.
The Wisconsin Medical Society, as well as the American Medical Association, have long held public positions in opposition to legalization of doctor-prescribed suicide. As recently as December of 2011, the Massachusetts Medical Association reaffirmed its position in opposition to legalization of doctor-prescribed suicide, an important decision since Massachusetts is certain to have a ballot question on November 6, 2012 to legalize. Attempts to reverse the position of the Wisconsin Medical Society have been rejected several times since 2009.
Doctor-prescribed suicide is most detrimental to older people and those with disabilities. Given the way it is carried out in the few states where it is legal, it is a recipe for elder abuse, giving a few selected medical professionals and family members too much power in determining when a person should die. In Oregon, it has been used as a cost-saving measure, where patients were told that the state would not pay for expensive treatment, but would pay for suicide pills even though the patients did not request them. We are extremely pleased that the Wisconsin Medical Society recognizes these dangers for patients and medical professionals and continues to maintain its position in opposition to legalization of doctor-prescribed suicide.