Advice from Vermont
True Dignity Vermont represents citizens opposed to the legalization
of assisted suicide in their state. For a small site it packs a lot of punch, with
well-reasoned posts. Check it out!
lists six reasons why assisted suicide should not be supported:
1.It attacks the dignity and threatens the lives
of people with disabilities who rely on the help of others to live.
2. It is a recipe for elder abuse. Current
and proposed laws contain no protections at all for patients once they fill their
lethal prescriptions, requiring no witnesses at the time the drugs are taken. There
is nothing to prevent a person’s being pressured or even physically forced to take
them. Without witnesses, even if the person struggled, who would know?
3.It presents suicide as a way to solve problems. No one commits suicide unless he or she has problems. If the problem of dying is
solved by socially sanctioned suicide, other people with problems will see suicide
as the solution and act accordingly, as they are now doing in Oregon, where suicide
rates have been rising since 2000.
4.It is frighteningly cheap compared to palliative
or hospice care. In Oregon, people have been denied life prolonging medication
and steered to assisted suicide. In Vermont at least one letter to the editor and
one editorial have mentioned assisted suicide as a solution to the problem of rising
medical costs. One of the leading public proponents of assisted suicide formerly
worked in managed care.
5. It has been and will be offered instead of treatment
to people with depression, who typically experience treatable suicidal ideation. The pro-assisted suicide lobby successfully fought a bill in Oregon this year that
would have required counseling referrals for all people requesting assisted suicide.
Why? What is threatening about counseling, which would seem to protect a patient’s
6. It is destructive of true choice because it
is inherently pressuring. Even if the laws were changed to require witnesses
at death and even if the cost factor could be eliminated, what dying person would
not feel pressure to relieve relatives, caretakers, or the state of the burden of
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