"No safeguards have ever been enacted or even proposed that can prevent an outcome that can never be undone."
Yesterday, the Jewish Weekly news published an interview with Marilyn Golden, the Senior Policy Analyst with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF).
DREDF is a foremost national law and policy center on disability civil rights. We work on policy such as the Americans with Disabilities Act — which I had the great honor of participating in the development of — and other training, technical assistance and disability rights litigation. I’ve been here since 1988.You were honored this year by the White House as a transportation “Champion of Change.” What did you do specifically to earn that award? Did you go to the White House?
... I have spent a number of years pushing the envelope to have stronger civil rights protections in transportation for people with disabilities, whether we’re talking about bus, train, ADA paratransit or privately funded transportation. I wrote a number of guides [that] brought together all the information [and] emphasized the rights of people with disabilities. The ceremony was in the old executive office, near the White House, with the secretary of transportation conducting it.With DREDF, you are also a strong voice against physician-assisted suicide. Why do you oppose it?
Because of direct threats to the disability community, but also because it’s a danger to everyone. People often think, “This is the right position for a liberal to take.” But it turns out that where assisted suicide is legal, some people will lose their lives without their consent through mistakes and abuse. No safeguards have ever been enacted or even proposed that can prevent an outcome that can never be undone.
People often support it because they’re concerned about end of life pain, but, in fact, anybody dying in pain can avail themselves of something that’s already legal: palliative sedation.
The disability community is very much at risk — as our lives are not deemed to be as valuable as others — but we’re not alone in the risk. There’s also significant risk of elder abuse. An heir or an abusive caregiver can steer the person toward assisted suicide, pick up the lethal dose and, in the end, even administer it to them because no witness is required at the death.