Carrie Ann Lucas and Anita Cameron have just had excellent commentaries opposing assisted suicide bills published in Colorado.
Carrie Ann’s op-ed, Legalizing assisted suicide in Colorado would threaten disabled, appeared in the Denver Post on January 25, 2016. After describing her busy life as an attorney with four children who uses a ventilator full time, she explains the risks these laws pose to countless disabled people like her:
I have a terminal condition — very much like ALS — and if assisted suicide were legal, I would qualify. This legislation directly threatens me, my family and my community. Much like terminally ill patients, we are vulnerable and can see how legalizing assisted suicide puts us at risk. That’s why most disability organizations oppose legalization of assisted suicide.
If I were to become depressed — either situational depression or major depression — and this bill passes, I could go to my doctor and ask for a lethal prescription. Because I have a disability, and because physicians are terrible at evaluating quality of life of people with disabilities, I would likely be given that lethal prescription, rather than be referred for mental health treatment. And if my doctor did not give me the lethal prescription, I could simply doctor shop until I found one who would.
To read Carrie Ann’s entire op-ed, go here.
Anita Cameron’s commentary, I choose to live!, appeared in the January 30th edition of the Pueblo Chieftain. Anita highlighted a number of concerns about the Colorado bill. For example,
Unscrupulous family members, caregivers and heirs who would coerce those with prescriptions to fill and take them is only one of the pitfalls of this bill. There is no oversight, no state reporting and no witnesses required at the time of death to say if the medication was taken voluntarily.
She also noted a key Pew Center study reflecting the cultural demographics of support and opposition to a public policy of assisted suicide:
My concern about this bill is also rooted in culture: As a black Latina, I have never understood support for assisted suicide. I thought that it was some odd thing that privileged white people were into.
My thoughts were confirmed when I learned that the Pew Research Center recently found that while 54 percent of whites supported assisted suicide, 65 percent of blacks and Latinos opposed it.
To read Anita’s entire op-ed, go here.
Members of Colorado Not Dead Yet and Colorado ADAPT will be testifying today and tomorrow (Feb. 3 and 4) at hearings being held in the Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee and House Judiciary Committee.
Dawn Russell, a state and national leader of ADAPT, plans to testify, in part, as follows, referring to the Colorado Choice Transitions program that helps people move out of nursing facilities and into a real home: