Testimony in Support of House Bill 7659 – Lila Manfield Sapinsley Compassionate Care Act
My name is Tony Houston and I am submitting this testimony on behalf of Humanists of Rhode Island in support of the HB 7659. For decades now, a majority of Americans have supported death with dignity and a majority of physicians also support the right of terminally ill and medically competent patients to choose how and when to end suffering with the assistance of their physicians.
Some may object to this bill on religious grounds, but personal religious beliefs should not set public policy for all Rhode Islanders. Roger Williams warned about such “monstrous partiality.” Others may have ethical concerns about the risks of coercion on vulnerable populations; but HB 7659 includes appropriate safeguards to help ensure that the patient is competent, not being coerced, and that the decision is a voluntary one.
When terminally ill patients are burdened with intolerable pain and suffering, they should know that their right to end their lives safely and on their own terms is protected. It is unconscionable to force terminally ill patients to slowly starve or bleed to death when there are more humane ways to end their suffering. Compassion, reason, and self-determination compel our support for this bill.
Submitted March 24, 2016 by
Tony Houston, Media Chair
Humanists of Rhode Island
108 Fort Ave
Cranston, RI 02905