Republican Governor Joe Lombardo of Nevada, who recently replaced Democrat Stephen Sisolak, vetoed a bill on Monday that sought to legalize assisted suicide, arguing that there are more compassionate alternatives for patients suffering from terminal conditions than resorting to ending their lives.
The legislation in question, known as state Senate Bill 239, is euphemistically titled “medical aid in dying”, but is really a typical assisted suicide bill that would have granted doctors the authority to prescribe lethal drugs to individuals diagnosed with a terminal illness.
With a Democrat controlled legislature, Governor Lombardo has been using his veto power at near record pace, vetoing controversial gun control laws as well as a law intended to facilitate the gender bending medical industry that is especially targeting children, many times without parental notification or consent.
While the assisted suicide bill managed to secure a narrow victory in the state Senate in April and subsequently pass the Assembly by a four-vote margin in May, it now seems unlikely that the Democrat-controlled legislature will be able to gather sufficient support to override the governor’s veto.
In his message explaining the veto, Lombardo expressed discomfort with endorsing a bill that legalized the practice of assisted suicide. “End-of-life decisions are never easy,” stated the Republican governor. “Individuals and their families often face numerous challenges, including determining the most appropriate course of treatment for their loved ones. Thankfully, the expansion of palliative care services and ongoing advancements in advanced pain management render the provisions outlined in SB 239 unnecessary.”
According to a report by 8 News Now, the pro-assisted suicide advocacy group Compassion & Choices claimed that the bill enjoyed widespread support among the general public. However, the state legislature received more than twice as many public comments opposing the bill as those in favor of it.
Had it been enacted, the legislation would have empowered adults diagnosed with a terminal illness to request lethal drugs from their physicians for the purpose of ending their lives. The bill also included a provision that mandated doctors to attribute the person’s terminal condition as the cause of death on their death certificates, rather than disclosing the true cause: assisted suicide through the administration of lethal drugs. Furthermore, the bill did not require the coroner’s certification of the cause of death.
Additionally, the bill would have compelled health insurance companies to provide coverage for patients seeking to pursue assisted suicide.
Responding to the governor’s veto, Wesley Smith, a lawyer and bioethicist, expressed his belief that assisted suicide is an inherently perilous practice. He pointed to countries like Canada and Germany, where the legalization of assisted suicide has progressively expanded, and where discussions are now underway regarding the potential inclusion of children and homeless individuals in these practices.
“… assisted suicide isn’t just unnecessary; it is profoundly dangerous,” Smith cautioned in a piece for National Review. “Once we make the decision to eliminate suffering by eliminating the sufferer, we open a Pandora’s box that leads to an ever-expanding culture of killing, as seen in Canada, and eventually to death on demand, as witnessed in Germany.”
Presently, ten U.S. states along with Washington, D.C., permit doctor-assisted suicide. Hundreds of individuals die by assisted suicide annually in Oregon, Washington, California, Vermont, and other states where these practices are legally allowed.