This letter was written for World Elder Abuse Prevention Day.
International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
I am writing to prevent elder abuse by keeping assisted-suicide out of New Jersey.
The landmark 2009 report by MetLife Mature Market Institute describes elder financial abuse as a crime “growing in intensity.” The perpetrators are often family members, some of whom feel themselves “entitled” to the elder’s assets. The report states that they start out with small crimes, such as stealing jewelry and blank checks, before moving on to larger items or coercing elders to sign over the deeds to their homes, change their wills or liquidate their assets. The report states that victims “may even be murdered” by perpetrators.
With legal assisted-suicide under New Jersey’s pending assisted- suicide law (A2770), perpetrators will instead be able to take a “legal” route, by getting an older person to sign a lethal dose request form. Once the lethal dose is in the house, there is no oversight over administration. The person could be coerced or tricked into taking the lethal dose, for example, while under the influence of alcohol.
With no supervision required, even if the person objected or struggled, who would know? I urge you to tell your legislators to say “No” to elder abuse and assisted suicide Bill A2770.
- Physician Assisted Suicide: A Recipe for Elder Abuse.