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Letter: The ramifications of legalizing suicide

Published: 2/22/2020 12:01:25 AM
Modified: 2/22/2020 12:01:13 AM

It has come to my attention that our Legislature will be soon voting on a bill (HB 1659) to make assisted suicide legal here in New Hampshire.

As someone who has worked in the mental health field for decades, I am gravely concerned about this.

In my career, I have personally witnessed many people with serious psychiatric illnesses who believed there was no hope of recovery. But then with compassionate, supportive care, many were able to recover and again live healthy, productive lives.

However, in some European countries where they have had legally assisted suicide for some time, some severely ill psychiatric patients are now deemed hopeless and allowed to choose death for themselves.

Right now, here in New Hampshire, we already have a very serious suicide problem, especially among teenagers. If this bill were to become law, it would become easy for a teen or anyone who’s suffering or depressed to think, “Well if the state now allows suicide, what’s so wrong with it anyway?”

And it would be foreseeable as well for a psychiatrist to conclude that a chronic patient is no longer worth the effort – that it might be just as well to give in to the patient’s suicidal desires. Thus those same doctors could well become those who dole out death instead of healers and promoters of hope.

I grieve when I think of the ramifications of this bill – where suicide could become just another life choice. I strongly urge our legislators to vote “no” on it.




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