Monday, November 8, 2010

Assisted Suicide lobby Attorney Kathryn Tucker to Pitch Legalized Assisted Suicide at Conference on Abuse of Elderly and Disabled?

Not Dead Yet has published an incredibly important blog post concerning Kathryn Tucker from Compassion & Choices, the assisted suicide lobby group, being named as a speaker to the upcoming conference fro the National Adult Protective Services Association in the United States.

Here is what Stephen Drake from Not Dead Yet wrote:

Recently, we became aware of a very disturbing development.

Every year, the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) hosts a conference on abuse of the elderly and people with disabilities, sharing research and prevention strategies. The 2010 conference is being held next week in San Diego, California.

The conference sessions and workshops are a reflection of the organization itself, as stated on the front page of the website:

The National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) is a national non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization with members in all fifty states, including the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. It was formed in 1989 to provide state Adult Protective Services (APS) program administrators and staff with a forum for sharing information, solving problems, and improving the quality of services for victims of elder and vulnerable adult abuse.

And for the most part, that is what you see in the program for the 2010 conference (pdf).

There is one glaring exception. On November 9, the second day of the conference, a concurrent presentation is being given by "Compassion & Choices" attorney Kathryn Tucker. (Most often, this organization is referred to as "Conflation & Con Jobs" here.)

Tucker's presentation is titled "Abuse in Terminally Ill Patients: Failures of Care." However abuse is defined by Tucker, it's an easy bet that a large part of her "solution" will entail legalization of assisted suicide. Tucker and her allies in the euthanasia movement are predictable and zealous - just as radical conservatives offer "tax cuts" as the solution to most problems, Tucker and her organization offer legalized assisted suicide as their own panacea of choice.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of being alarmed at seeing Tucker getting a podium at this conference. Over the past year, Tucker and C & C have been busy exploiting tragic cases in which elderly men murder their wives and then commit suicide themselves. In all of these cases, there has been no evidence that the murder victim had agreed to or wished for her own death. In more than one case, the woman murdered wasn't terminally ill.

Nevertheless, C & C has exploited these tragedies using two deceptive tactics in statements to the press: 1.) they imply the deaths were mutually planned and consensual when there is no evidence of that claim; 2.) they refer to the nonterminal conditions of the murdered women as "terminal;" 3.) the punchline is, of course, that they make an absurd claim that legalization of assisted suicide would somehow have prevented the tragedy.

Of course, it's absurd to think that a man who would kill a wife who didn't want to die would reach out to his doctor just because assisted suicide was legal. It would still be illegal for him to ask for help in killing a wife who wanted to live, wouldn't it?

In order to make the argument at all plausible, you have to significantly distort the facts. Tucker and her employers have shown no hesitation in this regard.

For a detailed analysis of two instances of this brand of warped advocacy, please check out the following two blog entries:

* Exploitation of a murder/suicide case in Connecticut - the murder victim had moderate Alzheimer's.
* Exploitation of a murder/suicide case in in Montana - the murder victim had cerebral palsy and some pain issues.

I would like to know what the organizers of this conference were thinking in accepting this proposal. Tucker gives presentations with only one goal in mind - advancing the main mission of legalizing assisted suicide.

Will attendees notice that she's using a different definition of "terminal" than they're used to? Or will they note that her biggest problem with these murder/suicides is that they are "violent" and messy? She doesn't mention the nonconsensual part.

Her participation in this conference is offensive and dangerous to the lives of people the organization involved is devoted to protecting. Tucker's solution to the ultimate form of abuse - murder - is to redefine it as something else so she and C & C can use these murders to help their own agenda.

I can only think that her inclusion happened through gross ignorance on the part of the organizers. That's bad enough. I'd hate to think that they actually knew what the organization has been doing over the past year. That would mean that vulnerable elderly women are in more danger now than ever. --Stephen Drake

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