Thursday, October 5, 2023

Diane Coleman: Harms in legalizing assisted suicide

This letter was published in the New York Times on October 4, 2023 in response to the article by Paula Span entitled: A Lawsuit Aims to Expand Aid in Dying

Diane Coleman
By Diane Coleman

President & CEO
Not Dead Yet

This article assumes that physician-assisted suicide is acceptable health policy. However, there are two significant questions that states should address when considering its legalization: Should it be a medical treatment, and what are the harms of legalizing it? 

On the first, many in the medical profession oppose physician-assisted suicide, including the American Medical Association, which holds that it “is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.” 

On the second question, major disability rights organizations oppose physician-assisted suicide because it increases the risks that people with disabilities face in receiving medical care, as they are already too often subject to unequal treatment

Adding physician-assisted suicide as a medical treatment exposes people with disabilities to systemic pressures to end their lives in the context of life-threatening illnesses. Before adopting physician-assisted suicide, or any extension of it, we need to ask, answer and understand the implications of such a step. 

Diane Coleman
Rochester, N.Y.

The writer is President and C.E.O. of Not Dead Yet, a disability rights group that opposes legalization of assisted suicide.

1 comment:

Kimberly Howard said...

I applaud Ms. Coleman for sharing her thoughts about legalizing assisted suicide. She's spot on by stating assisted suicide is not healthcare. Our culture of a death and pro euthanasia advocates pushing their murderous agenda is vile and cruel. Why are these pro death advocates, including healthcare providers allowed to speak for anyone with a disability or terminal illness?

My beloved mother was given a sudden cancer diagnose in late 2019. MDs told her no hope and any treatment of the cancer would end her life. Plus, they said she too old. She was an active 87 year old. My mother believed them and chose to forgo any treatment. She died by large amounts of a toxic cocktail of drugs, malnutrition and dehydration in a substandard hospice in early 2020.