Religious Right endangers pain relief for terminal patients

Copyright 2000 by Hugo S. Cunningham and others
First posted: y10822
latest change: y10822

Subject: Oppose US Senate ban on pain relief

[Note: this bill later expired without action in 2000. Readers should keep alert, however, in case a similar bill reappears.]

Ref: "Boston Globe" article
Date: 11/25/2000
Headline: Senate fight looms on suicide law
By Dan Morgan, Washington Post

I encourage ADG members to contact their own Senators to back Senator Wyden against the Religious Right's Orwellianly-misnamed "Pain Relief Promotion Act."

This bill would discourage pain relief by threatening doctors with barbaric 20-year prison sentences for over-treating terminal pain, and no penalty whatsover for under-treating it. The people behind it claim we can trust them not to prosecute doctors acting in good faith (ie the right-wing Christian faith), but they are, after all, the same fanatics who murdered Peter McWilliams in the name of marijuana prohibition.

Even if the effect of this bill could be limited to "assisted suicide," it would still violate the First Amendment ban on Congressional "establishment of religion."

Nothing could more directly concern religion than the manner of a decent death. Does one's own God require that one spend one's last months or years writhing in pointless agony on a hospital bed? With the First Amendment, the Constitution's drafters deferred such questions to the States, or to the people.

Nevertheless, we cannot always count on the US Supreme Court to throw out unconstitutional laws; it is far safer when legislators like Senator Wyden take seriously their oath to uphold the Constitution.

--Hugo S. Cunningham


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