Anita Cameron: Three Big Reasons Black People Should Join the Anti Doctor-Assisted Suicide Movement

(Head and shoulders photo of Anita Cameron, an African-American woman.)

Although a 2013 Pew Research Center study shows that 65 percent of Blacks are against assisted suicide, there are not many Blacks who are active in the anti-doctor assisted suicide movement. Here are three reasons that we Blacks must join this critical movement.

1. Our Healthcare System is inherently racist. Studies show that Blacks are treated differently than White patients and receive inferior care, particularly in the areas of cardiac, diabetes, and pain management. Blacks are more likely to die because doctors have overlooked something critical or will not listen to or believe what we have to say about our health and pain. This puts us at a greater risk for persuasion or coercion into assisted suicide should we acquire a terminal illness.

2. Black patients, particularly those of us with disabilities, are more likely to be poor and either not have access to or be aware of services, supports and financial assistance and accommodations, putting us at risk of doctors devaluing our lives and persuading or coercing us into assisted suicide, citing financial burdens on our families.

3. Groups like Compassion & Choices are making inroads into our communities and convincing some Black folks that doctor assisted suicide is a good thing when in fact it is not. We Black folks have a natural tendency toward suspicion of the medical community because of experiments like The Tuskegee Project, sterilization and other atrocities perpetrated against us without our knowledge or consent. As doctor assisted suicide becomes legal in more diversely populated states, Blacks and people of color will be at greater risk of this practice.

It’s time we stop looking at doctor assisted suicide as a privileged White folks issue. It’s also time that we expand our reason for objection from simply a religious issue to what it actually is–a deadly form of discrimination against people with disabilities and seniors. It sets up a two-tiered system where young, healthy folks get mental health treatment for suicidal feelings, while disabled, sick or seniors, especially poor folks, would get the “option” of doctor assisted suicide long before we get quality pain relief and other needed supports. This isn’t something that may happen. Insurers in Oregon and California have already begun to deny people cancer treatment and offer the suicide cocktail.

We need to join the disability community in speaking out and fighting against doctor assisted suicide. Don’t be fooled by Compassion & Choices, their media lackeys or doctors who place little or no value on our lives. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this is about “choices” or “rights”. It is about discrimination, plain and simple.

6 thoughts on “Anita Cameron: Three Big Reasons Black People Should Join the Anti Doctor-Assisted Suicide Movement

  1. As always, Anita tells hard truths, If I were black, I would be an activist because it is truth that the “tribal instincts” of all human beings still promote racism and, in truth, it is always about the money and the power to control where government money will be spent. Historically, the money to spend for the so called public good has always been primarily in the hands of white people who victimized and experimented on black patients with impunity because they could under the white power structure.

    There is still a federal law that prohibits the spending of federal dollars, like Medicare, on Physician Assisted Suicide or any kind of passive or active euthanasia but, not surprisingly, the states can do what they want to do. Why did the Congress exempt the States from this law in the first place? Will state Medicaid programs soon pay for Physician Assisted Suicide which is the known cheapest and less burdensome manner to die in our for-profit healthcare system for the private Insurance Company, the Government, the family and heirs, and the patient.

    Now! I am a white activist who joins Anita Cameron in her campaign to warn the elderly and the disabled of all races about the unilateral and covert shortening of life of these vulnerable populations in our public hospitals, without the permission and informed consent of the patient. This is happening because the government, Medicare or Medicaid, and the Advantage Insurers so often refuse to reimburse for any further expensive hospital care and the hospital can rationalize that these vulnerable elderly and disabled people are better off dead, anyway, and are shipped off to Hospice.

    Hospice used to be optional under Medicare/Medicaid fee for service but trials are still in progress that will eventually render Hospice to no longer be an “Option” but the only option that is available once a physician places an opinion in your medical chart that you have only six months to a year to live.

    The truth is that only the wealthiest among us, no matter what race, will be permitted to live as long as is Medically possible and as long as we want to live under our for-profit medical care system that encompasses government insurance and private pay insurance plans. .

  2. Interesting idea that assisted suicide is racist against African Americans. I posted this to my social media services; hope your trenchant ideas get wide coverage in cyberspace.

  3. I prefer the term–and the concept–aid in dying. It applies only to the terminally ill who knowingly act to reduce suffering.

    1. I don’t care what you prefer, but it’s obvious why you prefer the term. 1. – it’s unclear and can mean many things to many people, from withholding life-sustaining treatment, providing palliative care, lethal injections, etc. 2. Using the term “aid in dying” yields more support in opinion polls than the term “assisted suicide.” 3. The mostly affluent and white groups pushing assisted suicide have spent millions selling the term.

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