A diverse, bipartisan coalition is once again prepared to educate, advocate and defeat legislation that will permit assisted suicide in California. In this state, there is a long history of disability rights, medical professionals, hospitals, faith-based organizations and ethnic communities joining together against assisted suicide. Last year, similar coalitions helped reject bills in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and another is currently stalled, facing bipartisan opposition in New Jersey. Oregon-style assisted suicide bills were defeated in California in 2006 and 2007.
Nothing in the Oregon-style assisted suicide model can protect from the pressures to commit suicide or personal fears of “being a burden.” Further, six-month diagnoses are arbitrary standards; nothing prevents these laws from being expanded to include individuals with longer prognoses or people “suffering” from other illnesses or disability.
“Assisted suicide is a direct threat to those who are viewed as a significant cost liability,” says Catherine Campisi, PhD, former Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation appointed by former Governor Gray Davis, noting some of the reasons disability rights organizations oppose assisted suicide. “By adding assisted suicide to the suite of treatment options available, it becomes the cheapest option available and makes it easier for implicit and explicit pressure to be levied on the most vulnerable.”
There are no assisted suicide “safeguards” that can ever protect those most vulnerable in society, particularly in a state as diverse as California. These are just some reasons why there is such a broad, bipartisan coalition formed to aggressively advocate against this bill.
For more information on the coalition please go to: www.NoAssistedSuicideCA.org