Saturday, November 22, 2014

Why Compassion & Choices LOVES to talk about religion.

This last Tuesday, Compassion & Choices (C & C) hosted a conference call briefing. The call stressed C & C's usual talking points, including religion.  C & C loves to talk about religion.

So, why is that?

Maybe C & C doesn't want anyone reading its legislation or thinking about its agenda too closely, you think?  So, C & C talks about religion to create a distraction.  It's kind of like starting a fire in the back yard so that no one notices what you're doing on the front lawn.

New Jersey's Bill and C & C's Agenda.

For concrete examples, consider New Jersey's pending assisted suicide/euthanasia bill for "terminally ill" people, which isn't quite what it seems to be.[1]  Consider also, C & C's agenda, which, as described below, is to defend the medical government establishment against individual patients and to otherwise reduce choice in health care.

1.  "Terminally ill" does not mean "dying."

Many people think that "terminally ill" means "dying." But the New Jersey's bill's definition of "terminally ill" is broad enough to include non-dying people with chronic conditions such as diabetes.[2]

2.  Young healthy people will be labeled "terminal;" there will be an excuse to deny care.

Under the New Jersey bill, a healthy 18 year old with insulin dependent diabetes is "eligible" for assisted suicide/euthanasia. [3] So is a young adult with stable HIV/AIDS.  Such persons can have decades to live, yet they will be labeled "terminal" if the bill passes.[4]  Once so labeled, the "justification can be made that their treatment or coverage should be denied in favor of someone more deserving."[5]  Do you want this to happen to you or someone you know?

3.  People will be encouraged to throw away their lives.

The New Jersey bill encourages people to commit suicide or be killed based on a doctor's opinion of terminality.[6] Doctors, however, can be wrong, sometimes way wrong.[7] Consider John Norton who was diagnosed with ALS.  He was told that he would get progressively worse (be paralyzed) and die in three to five years.  Instead, the disease progression stopped, on its own.  In a 2012 affidavit, at age 74, he states:
If assisted suicide or euthanasia had been available to me in the 1950's, I would have missed the bulk of my life and my life yet to come.[8]
Legal assisted suicide/euthanasia encourages people with years to live, to throw away their lives.

4. New paths of elder abuse will be created.

If you read the New Jersey bill, it creates new paths of elder abuse. The most obvious path is due to a complete lack of oversight when the lethal dose is administered.[9]  Not even a witness is required.[10]  If the patient struggled, who would know?

5.  C & C's agenda.

And what about C & C's agenda?  C & C touts itself as the great promoter of individual choice. But, its actual mission is to back the medical-government establishment and to reduce choice in healthcare.

Consider an opinion piece published by C & C's president, Barbara Coombs Lee.[11] She defended Oregon's Medicaid Program against an individual patient named Barbara Wagner. This was after the program had denied coverage for a cancer drug recommended by Wagner's doctor.[12]  Coombs Lee also took issue with Wagner’s choice to try and live and argued that Wagner should have given up hope and accepted her pending death.[14]   But this was not Wagner's choice. In a KATU TV interview, Wagner said: 
I’m not ready to die ... I’ve got things I’d still like to do.[15]
In the opinion piece, Coombs Lee also argued for a public policy change to discourage people from seeking cures. This would presumably be through coverage incentives. For example, she said: 
The burning public policy question is whether we inadvertently encourage patients to act against their own self-interest, chase an unattainable dream of cure, and foreclose the path of acceptance that curative care has been exhausted.”  [opinion piece, page 2]
Coombs Lee is a former “managed care executive.”[16]

C & C doesn't want you reading its bill or thinking about what it's really doing.

Don’t be fooled .

* * *
Margaret Dore is a lawyer in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal.  She is also president of Choice is an Illusion, a 501(c)(4) human rights organization opposing assisted suicide and euthanasia.  For more information, see  and

[1]  See this legal/policy analysis of New Jersey's pending bill, A2270, which attaches the proposed bill and can be viewed here:
[2]  Id., pp. 4-7.
[3]  Id.
[4]  Id.
[5]  Joint Opinion Letter by attorney Theresa Schrempp and Richard Wonderly, M.D., October 22, 2009 (regarding a proposed definition of "terminally ill adult patient")  To view the letter, see 
[6]  See legal/policy analysis, pp. 4-7, at
[7]  Id. See also Nina Shapiro, "Terminal Uncertainty," Washington's new "Death with Dignity" law allows doctors to help people commit suicide - once they've determined that the patient has only six months to live. But what if they're wrong? The Seattle Weekly, January 14, 2009, at 
[8] John Norton's story and affidavit can be viewed at these links: and
[9] Legal/policy analysis, p. 10, at
[10]  Id.
[11]  Barbara Coombs Lee, "Sensationalizing a sad case cheats public of sound debate, The Oregonian, November 29, 2008, at For more background, see "Bradley Williams uses Coombs Lee's own words to impeach her," at and
[12] Id.
[13] Id.
[14] Id.
[15] Susan Harding and KATU Web Staff, "Letter noting assisted suicide raises questions, July 30, 2008, last updated October 30, 2013, at