Thursday, November 1, 2012

Question 2 - assisted suicide and elder abuse.

I sent the following letter into a Massachusetts newspaper concerning Question 2 and elder abuse.

Alex Schadenberg
Dear Editor:    

I write to emphasize elder financial abuse as relevant to Ballot Question 2, which seeks to legalize assisted suicide in Massachusetts.
The landmark report in 2009 by MetLife Mature Market Institute describes elder financial abuse as a crime “growing in intensity.” (Link to report p.16.) The perpetrators are often family members, some of whom feel themselves “entitled” to the elder’s assets. (Id., pp. 13–14.) 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. (Id., p. 14.) The report also states that victims “may even be murdered” by perpetrators. (Id., p. 24.)

With the proposed assisted suicide law, perpetrators will instead be able to take a “legal” route, by getting an elder to sign a lethal dose request. Once the prescription is filled, there is no supervision over administration. The elder could be cajoled or coerced into taking the lethal dose, for example, while under the influence of alcohol the abuser could administered the lethal dose while the elder slept. If he or she woke up and struggled, who would know?
Alex Schadenberg
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, International Chair
Box 25033
London ON, Canada, N6C 6A8

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