Nearly 20 disability activists wearing hot pink Not Dead Yet – The Resistance t-shirts took their message to Albany on May 9th. This was the lobby day scheduled by assisted suicide proponents, but NDY refused to give them the last word.
News coverage in the Albany Times Union quoted Adam Prizio, who serves as manager of governmental affairs for the Center for Disability Rights, and is also NDY’s attorney in the friend-of-the-court brief filed in the NY assisted suicide case being heard in the Court of Appeals later this month.
Opponents of aid in dying have said that if legislation is approved, medical research, health care providers and the disabled could be negatively impacted. Opponents also have warned that without proper oversight, there is potential for abuse by those who want to end the burden of caring for a terminally ill loved one.
“There’s no way to open this door just enough,” Adam Prizio, government affairs manager for the Center for Disability Rights, told the Times Union earlier this year. “No matter where you open it, some number of people with disabilities will be killed through coercion, through abuse, or through insurance companies trying to save money.”
NDY activists plan to continue their opposition to a state supported, medically implemented program of assisted suicide throughout the legislative session.
In connection with the day’s activity, the NY Alliance Against Assisted Suicide issued the following press advisory, quoting NDY’s Director of Minority Outreach, Anita Cameron.
MEDIA ADVISORY: May 8, 2017 Assisted Suicide Opponents Offer Alternative Perspective
Albany, NY – Physician-assisted suicide proponents will be lobbying for assisted suicide legislation in Albany on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. The New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide offers the following contact information and comment for an alternative perspective.
JJ Hanson, President, Patients’ Rights Action Fund and Terminal Brain Cancer Patient
Phone: 850-377-5410 Email: email@example.com
Hanson says: “I’ve seen firsthand the dangers inherent in doctor-prescribed suicide. My own doctors mistakenly told me that I had less than 4 months to live, yet here I am today—over 3 years later. In states where assisted suicide is legal, terminal patients have been offered lethal drugs by their insurance companies while coverage for the care they need was denied or delayed. In the states where assisted suicide has been legalized, there has not only been an increase doctor-prescribed death, but also an increase in the general suicide rate as well.
Assisted suicide puts the lives of those who are most vulnerable at risk.”
Mrs. Lynda Holler, Widow, Mother and Concerned Citizen (Brewster, NY)
Phone: 845-278-8239 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Holler recounts: “My husband, Kenny, was diagnosed with oral cancer eight months after we were married. We battled that horrendous, debilitating disease for twenty-one years. By the time Kenny died in 2014, together with our teenage sons, we had come to truly experience the fruits of deep love and sacrifice. Physician-assisted suicide perverts the dying process and robs families of irreplaceable end-of-life opportunities. Through Kenny’s model of suffering and living his life out to its natural end, I have come to recognize that how we die is the culminating statement of our lives. Through it, Kenny taught the communities of people around him both how to live and how to die. That is death with dignity, and our boys and I couldn’t be more peaceful or more proud.”
Anita Cameron, Director of Minority Outreach, Not Dead Yet
Phone: 720-413-9064 Email: email@example.com
Cameron notes: “All of the major disability organizations that have taken a position believe that the legalization of assisted suicide is dangerous. It is inherently discriminatory; it opens the way for insurance companies to choose assisted suicide as an option, because it is cheaper than paying for life-saving drugs and treatments; it allows doctors to be gatekeepers to decide whose lives are worthy; and it makes it possible for unscrupulous and abusive family members and heirs to coerce their relative into choosing suicide even if it isn’t what they want.”
David Kim, MD, American Academy of Medical Ethics
Phone: 718-974-8776 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim says: “As a physician treating critically ill patients for many years, I fear what the legalization of assisted suicide will mean for my profession and the trust patients will have in it. Will my patients be able to trust my judgment and their best interests knowing that I could become their judge, jury and executioner all in one? What will the repercussions be on our ability to truly care for our sickest patients if I as a professional, trained in a healing profession, look at someone in desperate need and say with my words and actions, ‘your life may not be worth living’? It is far better for the patient and the profession to insist that life is in fact worth living for, and to fight the physical, mental and emotional suffering of patients and their families with personal affirmation, effective pain control and counseling support, instead of giving in to their despair. We fight against the pain of suicide and its well- documented causes everywhere else in society—why should physician-assisted suicide be a justifiable exception?”
The New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide is an informal association of many diverse organizations, institutions, agencies and individuals in New York State committed to preventing the legalization of assisted suicide in the state. They include representatives of the following communities: disability rights, patients’ rights, health care, civil rights, senior rights and various faith-based advocacy organizations.