Tuesday, June 15, 2010

World Elder Abuse and Prevention Day

Compassion & Choices, dubbed “Conflation & Con Jobs” by the disability rights group Not Dead Yet, has issued a blog post in recognition of World Elder Abuse Prevention Day. The post notes “instances” in which family members and others abuse elders, and calls for us to “report [such abusers] to the authorities and encourage punishment.”

Elder abuse, especially financial abuse, is an epidemic. More importantly, Compassion & Choices leaves out that its so-called “death with dignity” laws create new paths for abuse. For example, in Washington State, its law allows an heir who will benefit from a person’s death, to help that person sign up for the lethal dose. See e.g. http://wsba.org/media/publications/barnews/jul-09+deathwithdignity.htm .

In New Hampshire, state representatives recently defeated an Oregon-style death with dignity act, 232 to 113 (nearly 70%). The primary reason: elder abuse. Representative Nancy Elliott states:
In New Hampshire, many legislators who initially thought that they were for the act became uncomfortable when they studied it further. . . . These acts empower heirs and others to pressure and abuse older people to cut short their lives. . . . There is no assisted-suicide bill that you can write to correct this huge problem.

Compassion & Choices's suicide laws are a prescription for abuse. Hence the bulk of its blog post changes the subject to talk about other issues, for example, a patient’s right to refuse treatment. While these other issues can raise legitimate concerns, they do not negate the inconvenient truth about Compassion & Choice’s suicide laws: These acts encourage and promote elder abuse.

Compassion & Choice’s call to report abusers to the authorities and encourage punishment, should begin at home.

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