New York is considering legalizing assisted suicide, but such a law would threaten the most vulnerable in society: the elderly, the terminally ill and people with disabilities.
As someone who lives with a disability and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, I strongly encourage the New York Legislature to reject assisted suicide, and instead work to increase access to better care and resources, such as long-term-services and supports.
People with disabilities have to overcome many challenges to be included in our society, which unfortunately determines someone’s worth based on their abilities. The Covid-19 health crisis has exposed this even more. People with disabilities are grappling with crisis standards of care that are inherently discriminatory.
If assisted suicide were available in New York, health care rationing could quickly turn into an early death sentence for someone with a disability who doctors may erroneously deem as having a low quality of life.
Whether it’s discriminatory crisis standards of care or assisted suicide, the message is the same: if you are living with a disability, your life is not valued.
In a recent report, the National Council on Disability, a national, nonpartisan research entity, detailed the dangers of assisted suicide laws to people with disabilities. The study found that “safeguards” in these laws are “ineffective, and often fail to protect patients.”
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