Doctor-assisted suicide has been legal in Colorado since 2016 – and as in the case of other states where it's legalized, the legal requirements aren't being followed. Leslie Hanks of Colorado Right to Life weighs in on the issue.
"They're not following the minimal requirements that were put into the law to protect people," Hanks shares. "With the death certificates that were supposed to be filed, they only are reporting the underlying illness; and they don't make any mention of whether the death was caused by ingesting a legal substance."
She argues the death certificate should tell the truth: suicide was the cause.
Another safeguard that has been badly violated, she explains, is that of a psychological evaluation. "Only five out of 777 cases [less than 1%] of people for whom a lethal prescription was written were first referred for an assessment; and in 2021 there were no referrals reported," Hanks points out.
While suicide drugs are only supposed to be prescribed for people with six months or less to live because of terminal illness, it's known that a few had anorexia – raising the question whether doctors are providing the prescriptions for other non-terminal illnesses such as depression, which can be treated.
According to the Australian Care Alliance, too many physicians in Colorado also failed to file all the required paperwork with the state, so those cases are undetermined. In many cases, the physicians do not file the person's written request for assisted suicide or a written confirmation from a "consulting physician" – earning state authorities a label of "lackadaisical" in requiring compliance with even minimal reporting requirements.