Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Good Old News: In Early 2023, Suicidology Group Withdrew Statement on Assisted Suicide

This article was published by Not Dead Yet on July 10, 2023.

In October 2017, the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) issued a Statement announcing that physician assisted suicide is not “suicide”. The Executive Summary states:
“The American Association of Suicidology recognizes that the practice of physician aid in dying, also called physician assisted suicide, Death with Dignity, and medical aid in dying, is distinct from the behavior that has been traditionally and ordinarily described as ‘suicide,’ the tragic event our organization works so hard to prevent. Although there may be overlap between the two categories, legal physician assisted deaths should not be considered cases of suicide and are therefore a matter outside the central focus of AAS.”
At their annual conference held seven months later, disability activists protested the Statement and distributed a leaflet to conference attendees, many of whom were previously unaware of the Statement.

In early 2023, according to an online AAS posting, the Statement was “retired.” Disability activist Meghan Schrader discussed the original Statement and its retirement in her recent article published in the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition blog, which criticizes Thaddeus Pope and others who favor expanding eligibility for assisted suicide to include disabled people without a “terminal” prognosis. The following is the relevant excerpt from her article:
The disabled community is reaping the consequences of a society that is so apathetic toward disabled people’s basic needs that it can’t even be bothered to provide us with suicide prevention. We are dirt.
…All self-respecting suicide prevention advocates and organizations really need to do some honest and humble reflection on their silence regarding assisted suicide. Not saying anything while people like [Thaddeus] Pope shamelessly sell suicide to the disabled community communicates that suicide prevention is for ablebodied, neurotypical people. The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention strongly opposed extending assisted suicide to the disabled community in 2021, but their opposition came too late to prevent the law change.
Indeed, the American Association of Suicidology’s 2017 statement about “medical aid in dying” being different from suicide had tragic consequences for the disabled community. Regrettably the board had somehow fallen under the influence of assisted suicide advocate, academic Margaret Battin, and its statement about PAS has repeatedly been used to justify PAS in all sorts of different contexts. The 2019 Truchon court decision in Québec which extended euthanasia to people with disabilities, cited the AAS’s statement to support its judgment that “MAiD” for disabled people was not suicide.

The AAS had made that statement in the context of physician assisted suicide for people with terminal illnesses, but in the end, the organization’s intentions did not matter. Its statement that some suicides weren’t suicides was used to cause multiple disabled Canadian’s suicides.

To its credit, the AAS became apprised of the genie it had let out of the bottle, and it retracted its statement about PAS not being suicide in 2023. Now the assisted suicide movement has no scientific basis for its assertions that PAS is not suicide. (Link to article)

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