Stephanie Packer (US)

Stephanie Packer, a mother of four who was diagnosed with a terminal form of scleroderma, was told by her doctors that she ought to switch to a different, less toxic chemotherapy drug; after some to-ing and fro-ing, her insurance company agreed to pay. Shortly thereafter, California passed an Oregon-style assisted suicide law, the ‘End of Life Option Act’.

‘It was a week later I received a letter in the mail saying they were going to deny coverage for the chemotherapy that we were asking for.’

While calling to question the decision, she was told that while her chemotherapy would no longer be available, she would only have to pay $1.20 for assisted suicide drugs. She has said that the assisted suicide law creates an incentive for insurance companies to deny terminally ill patients coverage.

‘As soon as this law was passed — and you see it everywhere when these laws are passed — patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this will always be the cheapest option… And people, once they became depressed, it became negative, and it started consuming people.’