"Once the lethal drug is in the home, no one will know how it’s administered. If the person struggled, who would know?”
Boston, Massachusetts (PRWEB) March 06, 2012
Disability rights activists from across Massachusetts will speak today before the Massachusetts legislature’s joint Judiciary Committee in opposition to a ballot question that would legalize assisted suicide. The activists are members of the recently formed group, Second Thoughts: People with Disabilities Opposing the Legalization of Assisted Suicide. The hearing will be at 1 p.m. in room A-2 at the state house.
“Second Thoughts is a group of disability rights activists and organizations who believe that assisted suicide is a dangerous mix with a broken, profit driven health care system,” said John Kelly, the group’s director.
“Economic and family pressures can make elderly and disabled people feel like they’re a burden,” said member Karen Schneiderman. “Under those conditions, how can a choice to commit suicide be considered a free choice?”
Schneiderman said that "I don't believe that Massachusetts voters want to pass a law that discriminates against old, ill and disabled people by singling them out for assisted suicide, while young, healthy people get suicide prevention services."
Kelly stresses that the proposed law lacks safeguards to protect elders and other vulnerable populations from abuse. “An heir can help make the request, sign as a witness and pick up the prescription. Once the lethal drug is in the home, no one will know if it's taken voluntarily. If the person changed their mind, if they struggled, who would know?”
Kelly emphasized that, under current law, people have the right to refuse or stop medical treatment, including food and water. People also have the right to adequate pain relief, even to the point of sedation.