Why Choice is an Illusion?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

AB 216: "Do or Refer" Doctors Not Allowed to Use Their Best Judgment for Individual Patients (No More Jeanette Halls)

Jeanette Hall with her son Scott
shortly after she changed
her mind.
Margaret Dore Esq., MBA*

Yesterday, a doctor asked me about "do or refer" provisions in some of the newer bills seeking to legalize assisted suicide in the United States. For this reason, I now address the subject in the context of a 2018 Wisconsin bill, which did not pass.

The bill, AB 216, required the patient's attending physician to "fulfill the request for medication or refer," i.e. to write a lethal prescription for the purpose of killing the patient, or to make an effective referral to another physician, who would do it.

The bill also said that the attending physician's failure to comply would be "unprofessional conduct" such that the physician would be subject to discipline. The bill states: