Section 22-8B-2

Legislative findings.

The Legislature finds all of the following:

(1) In almost every state, it is a crime to assist a suicide. These bans are long-standing expressions of the commitment of the states to protect and preserve all human life.

(2) The state has an interest in protecting vulnerable groups, including the impoverished, the elderly, and disabled persons from abuse, neglect, and mistakes. A ban on assisted suicide reflects and reinforces our belief that the lives of those in vulnerable groups are no less valued than the lives of the young and healthy.

(3) The state has an interest in protecting the integrity and ethics of the medical profession, including its obligation to serve its patients as healers and adhere to the principles articulated in the Hippocratic Oath.

(4) The state recognizes the close link between physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia where a right to die can easily become a duty to die. A prohibition against assisted suicide is the only reasonable means to protect against foreseeable abuses.

(5) The state recognizes the distinction between a patient refusing life-sustaining medical treatment where he or she dies from the underlying fatal disease and a patient ingesting or administering a lethal medication prescribed by a physician, where the medication is the cause of death. The state also recognizes the difference between pain management intended to alleviate pain and pain medicine used to assist in causing death.

(Act 2017-231, §2.)