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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude
Repression of Conscience

Assisted suicide bills require objectors to facilitate assisted suicide

State Legislature

Wisconsin, USA (April, 2007)

Sean Murphy*
Wisconsin Assembly Bill 298 and Senate Bill 151 are identical measures that authorize a competent person who is at least 18 years old and who has a terminal disease "make a request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner." Nothing requires a health care worker to participate in the administration of the drug, but physicians are obliged to act on the request, and other health care workers may be involved in the process leading up to the writing of a prescription for lethal medication.

There are no protection of conscience clauses in the bills. On the contrary: a physician unwilling to fulfill the request is required by section 9 to initiate transfer the patient to a willing colleague. Many objectors would take issue with a requirement to initiate the transfer process, which goes beyond simply responding when another physician to whom care has been transferred by the patient requests the file.

Senate Bill 151 & Assembly Bill 298
(Introduced April, 2007)

(9) If the attending physician refuses to fulfill the requester's request for medication under this chapter, the attending physician shall make a good faith attempt to transfer the requester's care and treatment to another physician who will act as the attending physician under this chapter and will fulfill the requester's request for medication. If a transfer is made, the attending physician to whom the requester's care and treatment is transferred shall comply with the requirements of this section.

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