Nevada Assisted Suicide Bills – Memo from Bishop Calvo

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, 

There are two bills in the Nevada Legislature which would make doctor prescribed suicide legal in our state. Although there are differences in SB 105 and AB 351 each provides that if a patient has been diagnosed with a medical condition which may be terminal within six months, the treating physician is required to inform the patient that they may request their doctor to prescribe suicide pills. 

In states such as Oregon and California, which have enacted doctor prescribed suicide, some medical insurance companies have refused to approve medical procedures requested by physicians, and have instead informed the treating physician that the insurance company will only approve prescribing the suicide pills. What will the insurance companies do next? Will the insurance companies deny treatment to people with medical conditions, or disabilities, which would be fatal without expensive medical procedures, and, instead, only offer to pay for the suicide pills? Will the elderly be denied potential lifesaving treatments, and be offered the choice to take a deadly poison, so they won’t be a burden” on their family? Stated differently, will the “right to die,” turn into a “duty to die”? 

What impact would these bills have on young people struggling with emotional issues and considering suicide? What about persons battling depression or suffering from traumatic brain injury? What is the message to our veterans, who are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder? Do SB 105 and AB 351 send our veterans the message that suicide is an acceptable alternative? In Oregon, the total suicide rate has increased by more than twice the national suicide rate since physician assisted suicide was passed. 

The proponents of SB 105 and AB 351 view these laws as progress. We believe that legalizing physician assisted suicide in Nevada will lead to the same issues which now plague Oregon and California. 

We ask for your help in making our legislators understand the Church’s position on physician assisted suicide. Please make your opposition on SB 105 and AB 351 clear to Nevada Legislators by following the instructions below or on line if you are viewing this letter in that manner. 

Please go to the official website of the Nevada Legislature and click on the 81 Session (2021). Scroll down to “Share Your Opinion on Legislative Bills.” On the Select Bill, click or enter SB 105, then scroll down to the “Your Opinion of the Bill” and click on “Against,” and then fill in the “Your Information” section. Follow the same procedure with AB 351. This is the best way to register your opinion. However, as an alternative, you can call the Nevada Legislature at these toll-free numbers: From Northern Nevada, call 800-978-2878; 800-995-9080; or 800-992-0973; and tell the person who answers that you want to register your opinion on a bill. The staff person will take your information and will register your position on SB105 and AB351. 

Please also call your Senator and Assemblyperson and leave a message that you opposeSB 105 and AB 351. Thank you. 

In Christ, 

Bishop Randolph R. Calvo – Diocese of Reno 

&

Bishop George Leo Thomas, PH.D – Diocese of Las Vegas