Wednesday, January 31, 2024

EPC - USA Statement to the New York Legislature in opposition to Assisted Suicicde

RE: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition-USA Statement in STRONG OPPOSITION to A995A Assisted Suicide-also known as “Medical Aid in Dying”

Dear ...

Please let A995A die this session. Assisted suicide proponents are trying to sell you a "pig in a poke". It's not about pain or a quick, peaceful death. It spawns more suicides and provides less healthcare. EPC-USA's physicians and disability advocates express strong opposition to assisted suicide.

“Medical aid in dying" is not healthcare and will exacerbate systemic inequities faced by people with disabilities and people from other marginalized communities. Assisted suicide combined with a broken healthcare and home care system is a deadly mix for people who are economically poor, lonely, vulnerable, elderly, disabled, and historically marginalized in the healthcare system.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA supports public policy that promotes positive measures to improve the quality of life of people living with a terminal illness and their families; we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide. We are disability advocates, lawyers, doctors, nurses and politicians.

Any safeguards are part of a deliberate bait-and-switch tactic by assisted suicide advocates to get a bill passed and then come back to amend it by gutting those safeguards.
  • Amy Pauline recently stated. At an event promoting A995A and S2445A , “We've been criticized by some organizations that actually want an expansion …. but we've held firm because we want to get this passed first.” (starting at 18:40).(1)
  • J.M. Sorrell, Executive Director of Massachusetts Death with Dignity, who was quoted on a similar bill saying, “Once you get something passed, you can always work on amendments later.”(2)
Since 2020, there have been seven amendments to such laws across five states: in Oregon in 2020 and 2023; in Vermont 2022, and 2023; in California in 2022; in Washington in 2023; and in Hawaii in 2023 and an amendment has been introduced in New Jersey. All these changes expand access, for example, waive waiting times, allow nurses to prescribe the lethal medication, or drop residency requirements.(3)

It’s Not about Pain 

Dr. Lonny Shavelson, a California assisted suicide provider says promoting “aid in dying” as avoiding pain is a political sales pitch. See webinar(4) minutes 25:24-27:53. He says people choose assisted suicide because they are low energy or afraid of losing control.

It’s Not about a Peaceful or Quick Death 

Dr. Shavelson says the idea that assisted suicide creates a peaceful beautiful death is another myth. See webinar(5) minutes 37:35-41:00. Some people may suffer prolonged and difficult deaths from the experimental lethal drug cocktails.

Insurance Companies Use Assisted Suicide to Deny Curative Life-Saving Treatment 

Assisted suicide exacerbates the systemic problems patients face when seeking care for terminal illnesses. Dr. Brian Callister(6) of Nevada says he was stunned when insurance would not cover life saving treatment for his patients who were transferring to California and Oregon, but offered to pay for Assisted Suicide instead.

Assisted Suicide Spawns More Suicides and Attempted Suicides. 

Assisted suicide advocacy has already exacerbated the suicide crisis among people with disabilities. Disabled people have a higher rate of suicide than the general population and people are more likely to approve of suicide if the victim is disabled.(7) Worse, in 2023, the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) had to retract its 2017 statement that “Medical Aid in Dying” was not suicide, after it was used to justify expanding assisted suicide and euthanasia to disabled Canadians over the objection of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.(8)

Moreover, a 2019 report found teen suicides in California increased by 34%(9)  since that state legalized Assisted Suicide in 2016. Oregon’s youth suicides increased 79.3% from 2000 to 2018.(10) Research about completed suicides in four states that legalized Assisted Suicide (Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Montana) found it was associated with at least a 6.3% increase in the rate of all suicide deaths.(11)

The Marginalized understand this will be used to provide them with poorer care. Even with insurance, people of color get poorer hospital care and pain relief. According to a New York Times article,(12) people of color disproportionately died of COVID-19. (article)Medical prejudices and neglect result in racial disparities in diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, cancer, and heart trouble. COVID-19 has killed Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) at a much higher rate than Whites.(13)

There Are Very Clear Cases of Abuse 

The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) has cataloged a long list of abuse cases.(14) Moreover, a doctor suggested assisted suicide to her anorexic patients and helped them carry it out. Compassion and Choices has acknowledged this abuse of the law, yet repeatedly asserts that the law has never been abused.(15)(16)

EPC-USA's physicians remind us that Assisted Suicide laws exacerbate systematic inequalities that disabled people experience in the medical sphere. A "Federal study found that the nation's assisted suicide laws are rife with dangers to people with disabilities".(17)

EPC-USA’s physicians remind us that Physicians, clinicians, insurance companies, and healthcare systems are fallible. Misdiagnoses and unreliable terminal prognoses are documented by the cases of: Jeanette Hall,(18) John Norton,(19) and Rahamim Melamed-Cohen.(20) More and more diagnoses qualify for Assisted Suicide. As mentioned, the latest effort to stretch “terminally ill” treats anorexia as a qualifying terminal disease.

In 2021, the NY based United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of People with Disabilities asserted that all assisted suicide laws violate its Convention On The Rights of People with Disabilities.(21)

As the cheapest state-sponsored “treatment,” assisted suicide diminishes patient choice and takes away patient autonomy. Assisted suicide combined with a broken health care and home care system is a deadly mix for people who are economically poor, lonely, vulnerable, elderly, disabled, and historically marginalized in the US healthcare system.

We urge you to allow A995A to die this session because exacerbating systemic social inequalities so that the proponents can plan their deaths is unwise and unjust.


Colleen E. Barry, Chairperson
Josephine L.A. Glaser, MD.,FAAFP
Meghan Schrader
Kenneth Stevens, MD
William Toffler, MD
Gordon Friesen
Alex Schadenberg

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA,

End Notes

1. Amy Pauline recently stated. At an event promoting A995A and S2445A , “We've been criticized by some organizations that actually want an expansion …. but we've held firm because we want to get this passed first.” (starting at 18:40) (Link).

2. Comerford to reintroduce medical aid-in-dying bill in wake of court decision (Link).

3. Journal of Medical Ethics. Twenty five years (Link).



6. Insurance companies denied treatment to patients, offered to pay for assisted suicide, doctor claims - Washington Times (Link).

7. Is suicide an option?: The impact of disability on suicide acceptability in the context of depression, suicidality, and demographic factors. (Link).

8. Statement on recent MAiD Developments. (Link) (Link).  

9. New health report for California shows 34% increase in teen suicide (Link).

10. National Vital Statistics Report. Suicide Rates Among... (Link).

11. How Does Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide Affect Rates of Suicide? (Link).

12. The Never-Ending Mistreatment of Black Patients (Link).

13. One Man's COVID-19 Death Raises The Worst Fears Of Many People With Disabilities (Link).

14. Some Oregon and Washington State Assisted Suicide Abuses and Complications (Link).

15. Terminal Anorexia Is Dangerous Justification for Aid in Dying (Link).

16. (Link).

17. The impact of disability on suicide acceptability (Link).

18. Jeannette Hall on dying well (Link).

19. Affidavit of John Norton (Link).

20. Twelve years after contracting Lou Gehrigs disease, Dr. Rahamim Melamed-Cohen (Link).

21. Disability is not a reason to sanction medically assisted dying – UN experts (Link).

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