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Lawsuit filed against physician-assisted death law

By Genevieve Glass

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    ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (KOAT) — “Physician-assisted suicide is incompatible with a physician’s role as healer and it’s impossible to manage because it can lead to just terrible things,” said Kevin Theriot, the attorney to New Mexican doctor Mark Lacy.

“Doctors can take care of six month terminal patients, make sure they are comfortable, offer them the encouragement and medicine that they need without encouraging them to kill themselves,” he continued.

This week he filed a lawsuit on behalf of Lacy and the National Association of Christian Healthcare Professionals against the state of New Mexico, over what they call forced participation in assisted suicide.

We are seeking to protect our clients’ ability to practice medicine in a way that is in conformance with their religious convictions, which require them to help and heal not to kill,” Theriot said.

The End of Life Options Act allows health care providers to prescribe medication to a qualified person who can self-administer that medication to bring about a peaceful death.

Former Representative Deborah Armstrong, who sponsored the bill, says no one is obligated to take part.

“It’s entirely voluntary and there’s substantial protections for anyone who does not want to participate, as well as for those who do,” Armstrong said.

“There is, however, some reference to fully informing your eternal terminally ill patients of all reasonable and legal options,” she added.

She says there are several safeguards in place.

A medical provider needs to determine that the patient has a terminal illness, the mental capacity to make the decision and is able to self-administer the end-of-life medication.

If there’s any doubt, a provider must refer the patient for an evaluation to a licensed mental health professional.

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