NDY Submission to United Nations Criticizes Proposal To Support Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

Not Dead Yet, the Resistance

Submission re: Draft General Comment on Article 6
of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – Right to Life

October 6, 2017

Executive Summary

Not Dead Yet USA is a national, grassroots disability rights group that opposes legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia as deadly forms of discrimination against old, ill and disabled people. Not Dead Yet USA helps organize and articulate opposition to these practices in the United States based on secular social justice arguments. Not Dead Yet also demands the equal protection of the law for the targets of so called “mercy killing” whose lives are seen as worth-less.

This submission concerns paragraph 10 of the Draft Comment, which reads as follows:

[While acknowledging the central importance to human dignity of personal autonomy, the Committee considers that States parties should recognize that individuals planning or attempting to commit suicide may be doing so because they are undergoing a momentary crisis which may affect their ability to make irreversible decisions, such as to terminate their life. Therefore,] States should take adequate measures, without violating their other Covenant obligations, to prevent suicides, especially among individuals in particularly vulnerable situations. At the same time, States parties [may allow] [should not prevent] medical professionals to provide medical treatment or the medical means in order to facilitate the termination of life of [catastrophically] afflicted adults, such as the mortally wounded or terminally ill, who experience severe physical or mental pain and suffering and wish to die with dignity. In such cases, States parties must ensure the existence of robust legal and institutional safeguards to verify that medical professionals are complying with the free, informed, explicit and, unambiguous decision of their patients, with a view to protecting patients from pressure and abuse.

We strongly oppose this draft language, which supports assisted suicide and euthanasia, thus proposing to carve older, ill and disabled people out of equal protection of the law. This submission will focus on the risks to individuals and society associated with assisted suicide and euthanasia. We will discuss the evidence from Oregon, the earliest of the five states and the District of Columbia to legalize assisted suicide, and outline the concerns of the disability community.

Regardless of our abilities or disabilities, none of us should feel that we have to die to have dignity, that we have to die to be relieved of pain, or that we should die to stop burdening our families or society. The Draft Comment on this topic must be rejected.

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NDY’s full 16-page submission with references will be available on the Human Rights Committee website here, along with other submissions, including an excellent document by Toujours Vivant/Not Dead Yet Canada.

2 thoughts on “NDY Submission to United Nations Criticizes Proposal To Support Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

  1. Correction 5 states have laws legalizing assisted suicide OR,WA,VT,CA&Colorado make 5.
    Correction please: Thankfully like 44 other states no one in Montana has immunity from prosecution for assisting a suicide, no doctor, nurse, care giver or guardian.
    The promoters of assisted suicide have done you a disservice. The promoters of assisted suicide have worn out their thesaurus attempting to imply that it is legal in Montana. Assisted suicide is a homicide in Montana. Our Montana Supreme Court did rule that if a doctor is charged with a homicide they might have a potential defense based on consent. The court acknowledged it is a homicide in the ruling
    The court did not address civil liabilities and vacated the lower court’s claim that it was a constitutional right. Unlike Oregon, no one in Montana has immunity from civil or criminal prosecution, death certificates are not legally falsified and investigations are not prohibited like in Oregon, Washington and California. Does that sound legal to you? 
    Perhaps the promoters are frustrated that even though they were the largest lobbying spender in Montana, their Oregon model legalizing assisted suicide bills have been rejected in Montana in 2011, 2013 and 2015. The predatory corporation withdrew from their bullying legislative position in 2017. They simply did not try a fourth time and we celebrate saving lives every day in Montana.

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