Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Assisted Suicide would put pressure on disabled people to die.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Not Dead Yet leaders with
Representative Denise Provost.
Lori Brannigan Kelly published an excellent interview with Not Dead Yet representatives John Kelly, Anita Cameron and Brian Shea who are campaigning to defeat the assisted suicide bill in Massachusetts that was published in the NewBostonPost. The article begins by stating:
The Massachusetts Legislature is considering a measure that would allow physician-assisted suicide, but skeptics held a briefing last week foreseeing sad consequences if it passes. 
“It is a widespread human desire to experience a peaceful, relatively pain-free death. But I think it would be a mistake to make physician-assisted suicide legal, especially as Americans’ access to health care is under threat of repeal,” said state Representative Denise Provost (D-Somerville). “People with disabilities, those who are poor or otherwise marginalized, could easily be pushed to choose premature death as their options narrow.”
The article then features comments by disability rights activist, Tom Wood:
One hearing attendee, Tom Wood of Salem, New Hampshire, insisted that euthanasia in no way equates with compassion. 
“It is not mercy. It’s out and out premeditated murder,” said Woods, who is a member of Spectrum Boston and Mass ADAPT, both of which advocate for the disabled.
John Kelly
The article then quotes comments by John Kelly, from Second Thoughts Massachusetts.
John Kelly, director of Second Thoughts Massachusetts, which warns against a growing “better dead than disabled” mindset in the United States, said assisted suicide is a disability rights issue that threatens everyone. 
“Because of misdiagnosis, abuse, insurers’ bottom line, suicidal despair, people’s guilt and coercion and abuse, these kinds of bills are very dangerous for everyone in the state. Innocent people will lose their lives if these bills become law,” Kelly said. 
One briefing attendee, Brian Shea of Somerville, suggested that targeting certain people is the inevitable outcome of the proposed new law: “It is the use of the state to manage a section of the population who are poorer, who are marginalized, and who are a lot of people of color.”
Anita Cameron
Not Dead Yet responsed to the comment that "safeguards" will protect people:
Even if safeguards exist for terminally ill individuals, they argue, disabled patients represent a vulnerable demographic that could, in the future, be targeted both by a contracting health care system and by insurance companies worried about controlling costs and unwilling to pay for expensive care. 
Earlier this month the American College of Physicians issued a policy statement against the legalization of assisted suicide. “This practice is problematic given the nature of the patient-physician relationship, affects trust in that relationship as well as in the profession, and fundamentally alters the medical profession’s role in society,” the organization’s position paper states. 
The Washington Times reported this past May that insurance companies in states where physician-assisted suicide is legal have refused to cover expensive, life-saving treatments for patients, but have offered to help them end their lives instead. 
Drugs for assisted suicide cost about $75 to $100, making them far less expensive than providing medical care. 
Anita Cameron, director of minority outreach for Not Dead Yet, which opposes the measure, insists that economic pressure will help normalize euthanasia, and that in that environment the potential for abuse to the disabled community would be real. 
“It is cheaper to kill us than to have us live,” says Cameron.
The article ended by explaining that assisted suicide has been debated many times in Massachusetts.
The 2017-2018 session is the eighth time a so-called “death with dignity bill” is under consideration in the Massachusetts legislature. Additionally, in 2012, the issue came before voters in the form of a ballot question. Voters rejected the measure 51 to 49 percent. 
The next hearing for the House and Senate assisted suicide bills is scheduled for Tuesday, September 26 in the Joint Committee on Public Health. 
If the legislature approves the bill, it will go on to Governor Charlie Baker for signature. 
As of Monday morning, the governor’s office had not provided comment.
The article is based on the legislative briefing that was sponsored by Second Thoughts Massachusetts, a disabled-rights organization that opposes assisted suicide.

1 comment:

Ak Rhodes said...

Why is it that the bills get defeated time and again, and like toddlers or wayward dogs, the pro euthanasia crowd just keep coming back and won't give up? Not only that, but when pressed, pro euthanasia types never admit to dispatching someone...why? This is why once a bill is defeated, the campaign must continue to stop the next one. It's the same attitude of terrorists: "We only need to be right once...you need to be vigilant all the time..." (Quote from a detainee around 2005)

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