Illinois State Senators Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) and Robert Martwick (D-Chicago) are sponsoring a bill, SB 109, that will change the “Practitioner’s Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment” (POLST) form by removing the requirement that a witness sign the form. Since the POLST form states the patient’s wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment, having a witness sign this form reduces the chances that a patient is manipulated into literally signing their life away.
- POLST stands for “Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment” but has less to do with “life-sustaining” and more to do with life-ending. Remember that words and changing definitions are often used deceptively to fool people.
- Currently, the POLST form has to be “witnessed by one individual 18 years of age or older, who attests that the individual, other person, guardian, agent or surrogate (1) has had an opportunity to read the form; and (2) has signed the form or acknowledged his or her signature or mark on the form in the witness’s presence.” SB 109 removes that.
- SB 109 also indicates, “If the patient’s wishes are unknown and remain unknown after reasonable efforts to discern them, the decision shall be made on the basis of the patient’s best interests as determined by the surrogate decision maker.”
- POLST was created in 1991 at the Center for Ethics in Health Care at Oregon Health & Science University. Oregon permits physician-assisted suicide. Key backers of POLST forms include foundations like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that have funded “right to die” organizations. That alone should indicate the real intentions behind POLST.
Reasons for Requirement of Witness:
- Patient could be manipulated into literally signing their life away.
- Eliminating the important witness requirement leaves vulnerable patients’ health decisions in the hands of the medical person in charge.
This proposal has passed the Illinois Senate by a vote of 43 – 15 on April 21st, and is now being considered by the Illinois House. Two Republicans joined Democrats in voting for this proposal: State Representatives John Curran (R-Lemont) and Donald DeWitte (R-West Dundee).
Take ACTION: Click HERE to send a message to your state representative to ask him/her to vote against SB 109. Be polite, but request that they “Help Protect Patients Needing Life-Sustaining Treatment and vote no on SB 109.”
More ACTION: We have a short window to submit witness slips. It takes less than five minutes. State lawmakers use these witness slips as a measure of public opinion. Help stop this bill by taking these steps (must be over 13):
- Open the link for SB 109 (here)
- Fill in your information. Put “Self” in three fields:
- Persons, groups firms represented in this appearance
- Under Position, click OPPONENT
- Under Testimony, click “Record Of Appearance Only”
- Click “I Agree to the ILGA Terms of Agreement”
- Click button Create(Slip)
SB 109 is sponsored in the Illinois House by State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) and Carol Ammons (D-Urbana).
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