for Nurses Opposing Senate Bill 128,
now before the California Assembly,
To Legalize Physician-Assisted Suicide
Whereas, Senate Bill 128, now before the Assembly of the State of California:
- Forces Doctors to Violate Their Hippocratic Oath: The universal ethical standard established by Hippocrates states "I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel... with purity and holiness I will pass my life and practice my art." Senate Bill 128 licenses physicians to directly violate the Oath held sacred to the practice of medicine by providing a platform for their being aides in dying.
- Discriminates Against the Medical Professional: It violates the freedom of a physician’s conscience and the freedom of the physician to practice medicine in a moral and ethical manner as set forth in the Hippocratic Oath.
- Distorts the Fundamental Principles of Healing: Supporting the legalization of physician assisted suicide subverts what is the heart of medicine, namely, healing. Doctors cannot heal by assisting patients in killing themselves or by killing them.
- Undermines the Doctor-Patient Relationship of Trust: It threatens to fundamentally distort and collapse the doctor-patient relationship, greatly reducing the patient’s trust of their doctor and the doctor’s undivided commitment to the healing of their patient. Trust placed by the patient in their physician will be seriously breached if the patient fears their physician might encourage, and actively facilitate, their death.
- Is Morally Deceptive and Devoid of Ethics: This bill presents as a new medical practice what until the present day has always been considered murder.
Whereas, I, a nurse in good standing in the medical community, who aids physicians in their role as a healer to provide for their patients appropriate medical care and well-being, do state and affirm, in unison will all nurses faithful to the Nightingale Pledge -- whereby nurses shall abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug -- that physician-assisted suicide is unethical and immoral.
Whereas, Senate Bill 128 will facilitate a new era in which patients will not be safe from having their “right to die” exercised for them, thus endangering the weak and vulnerable, corrupting the practice of medicine and altering the sacred doctor–patient relationship. It would compromise the family and inter-generational commitments as well as betray human dignity and equality before the law.
Therefore, the undersigned, in solicitude for those who are physicians, that of my colleagues in the nursing profession and that of all patients to which I attend, respectfully urges the California State Legislature to reject and abandon consideration of California Senate Bill 128.