Assisted suicide and euthanasia are no longer distant threats to life. Doctor-prescribed suicide legislation is being discussed in Pennsylvania right now.
Compassion and Choices, formerly the Hemlock Society, is pushing this deadly legislation across the country; and we in the pro-life community are joining voices with medical and disability rights groups to oppose doctor-prescribed suicide in Pennsylvania.
You may hear it euphemistically called death with dignity or aid in dying, but doctor-prescribed suicide is what it is. And it’s a recipe for abuse.
We know from Oregon, where doctor-prescribed suicide is legal, that safeguards don’t work. People who are older or disabled may be pressured into suicide, and others may be denied medical treatment. That’s what happened to Barbara Wagner. In 2008, her Oregon-run insurance plan denied coverage of her chemotherapy treatment. Instead, they offered to cover her assisted suicide.
Josie Byzek of Not Dead Yet Pennsylvania, a disability rights group against assisted suicide, says groups should be advocating for better health care and respect for people of all abilities – not suicide.
“One concern our community has is that people with disabilities, especially life-threatening disabilities, cannot uniformly receive quality health care,” Byzek says. “Therefore, how can these same health professionals, as a matter of policy, possibly make a judgment call about the person’s quality of life?”
To stay informed about this issue, check out recent Pennsylvania media coverage:
- Central Pa. talk radio show Smart Talk aired a program with disability rights advocates from Not Dead Yet Pennsylvania and assisted suicide advocates. Listen here.
- In Allentown, the TV show Business Matters interviewed our Executive Director Michael Ciccocioppo and Alan Holdsworth of Not Dead Yet, along with assisted suicide advocates. Watch it here.
- Lancaster newspapers published two opinion columns for and against doctor-prescribed suicide. Our Legislative Director Maria Gallagher wrote the opposed column. Read it here.