Issue

HB2565: Statement by Secular Coalition for Arizona

Secular Coalition for Arizona
Testimony of Zenaido Quintana, Chair
Before Senate Judiciary Committee
On HB 2565, Manslaughter Definition Expansion

Thank you. Mr. Chairman and distinguished Committee members
I am Zenaido Quintana, and I am here in the capacity of Chair of the Secular Coalition for Arizona.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak in opposition to HB 2565, the proposed change to Section 13-1103 A.3.

This provision that extends the penalties of manslaughter to individuals who knowingly provide the physical means of committing suicide to another will add an additional cruel burden to those who seek to end the suffering of a loved one facing a tortuous death.

One hallmark of an ethical society is the option to choose a compassionate and dignified end to one’s own suffering.
If your parent, spouse, child or dear friend were in the throes of a painful and agonizing certain death, such as is common with any number of terminal diseases or physical injuries, how many of you could resist their anguished pleas to help them put an end to their torment?  Unfortunately, it isn’t until one is faced with this situation personally that the inhumanity of this provision becomes apparent.

It would be far better to craft legislation that would permit citizens of Arizona to get relief from an agonizing end through their licensed physician than to continue to try to criminalize every avenue for a caring loved one to provide relief.

The abuses that were predicted for permitting terminally ill individuals from receiving help in dying have simply not materialized in the 20 years that people have been permitted to choose this option in Oregon, three other states have wisely chosen to follow Oregon’s lead.

As with SB1062, the only arguments that remain to prohibit the adoption of a humane approach to dying in Arizona are the personal religious beliefs of a small portion of our state’s population. We ask that you don’t force Arizonans to endure needless suffering at the end of their lives through religiously motivated government intervention.  

Thank you. I’m pleased to respond to any questions.