Assisted Suicide? It Depends Where You Stand

by Lisa Blumberg, Second Thoughts Connecticut

It’s déjà vu as the legislature again considers an assisted suicide bill.  How you feel about assisted suicide seems to depend on whether you have always had full access to quality health care or are part of a group that has been subject to health care disparities and devaluation.

Let’s be clear. This is not a patients’ rights bill. People al-ready have the right to refuse any treatment they don’t want.

It does not expand access to palliative care. It does not assure that everyone has the same opportunities for life-saving treatment or in-home care. It certainly does NOT eliminate medical prejudices.

This is a bill that gives doctors immunity for prescribing lethal drugs to certain patients who ask for them, if minimal criteria are met.

The supposed safeguards only apply to the prescribing of drugs rather than their use. We don’t know if a patient is competent when he takes them. We don’t know if he is having “a bad day.” We don’t know anything. We cannot afford to just have faith.

We are living in grim times. The difficulties created by the pandemic have caused domestic abuse to skyrocket. (1) There are bound to be at least some cases where a person is steered or coerced into taking the pills by someone whose life might be emotionally, practically, or financially easier if he died sooner rather than later.

A Boston University study has found that COVID-19 related stressors have caused one out of three adults to be depressed. The lead author wrote. “We would hope that these findings promote creating a society where a robust safety net exists.” (2)

Legalizing assisted suicide would increase the shredding of the social fabric. Now is not the time for the state to enact this type of law.

Lisa Blumberg is a lawyer, writer and disability rights activist. She is a member of Second Thoughts Connecticut.

Footnotes
1. https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200818/radiology-study-suggests-horrifying-rise-in-domestic-violence-during-pandemic#1
2. https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/09/ depression-triples-us-adults-amid-covid-19-stressors

Here is a link to an Op-Ed piece by Ms. Blumberg, published in the CT Mirror on Jan. 19, 2021.
https://ctmirror.org/category/ct-viewpoints/separating-myth-and-reality-in-aid-in-dying.

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