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COLUMBUS – The Columbus Area Right to Life on Monday evening held a community event discussing the effects of euthanasia -- assisted suicide --at the Veteran of Foreign Wars building.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director for Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, spoke about the downfalls of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

The bill to legalize assisted suicide in Nebraska has been introduced twice since 2016 but has yet to be passed. Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers made efforts to carry the bill over to 2018 by introducing LB 450, Patient Choice at End of Life Act, on Jan. 17, 2017.

“When the debate does hit Nebraska, we have to be ready,” Schadenberg said.

So far four states and the capitol district in the U.S. have legalized assisted suicide: California, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Colorado and Montana.

“There’s a lot of push on certain political people that they want to see assisted suicide legalized everywhere,” Schadenberg said.

Schadenberg, who is from Canada, has been advocating for the cause since 1999. He has traveled to countries like Switzerland and Australia to spread awareness of the issue.

The event attracted approximately 100 people of all ages. Schadenberg began his presentation by illustrating cases in different countries where people changed their stances on euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“They say that it is about freedom and choice but it is certainly not about that,” Schadenberg said. “It is about ending all freedom. Once I am death I am gone. There’s no turning back.”

People with a six-month prognosis without medical treatment qualify for assisted suicide in places where its legal but the decision still comes down to physicians. By law, physicians who disagree with assisted suicide and euthanasia must refer patients to another doctor that can carry on the procedure, Schadenberg said.

People who are appointed the power of attorney are often times pressured to approve euthanasia and assisted suicide by doctors. With that being said, he advised his audience to appoint someone that shares similar values.

Physicians will prescribe lethal medications to patients who request assisted suicide.

“When you legalize assisted suicide, the law gives the doctor the rights to make the decision to prescribe lethal drugs,” Schadenberg said. “It is allowing the doctor to be directly involved with causing your death.”

Schadenberg said most people who request assisted suicide fear future suffering and this is directly related to the culture of loneliness and isolation.

He ended his presentation by showcasing the different alternatives to assisted living and hopes that society will grow to be more interdependent.

“We have a culture in need of a caring and hopeful response, not a killing and abandoning response,” Schadenberg said.

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