Though individuals with disabilities are not usually terminally ill, the terminally ill are almost always disabled or will become so as their condition progresses. For this reason and others, the point of view of someone who has severe disabilities may offer meaningful insight into this complicated matter. As founder and president of The Climb Organization, one of our goals is to educate the world on issues of those living with disabilities and demonstrate to that individuals with disabilities can have a full, successful, and meaningful lives.
Assemblyman Burzichelli, who is lead sponsor of a bill to permit assisted suicide in New Jersey, stated in his testimony on March 12, 2018 to the New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee that the disabled community is “misled” about the dangers this legislation will cause for people with disabilities. I disagree. Having been the first student with multiple-disabilities and with a major speech disability to attend the University of Notre Dame, and being a two-time graduate of the same institution, I have read, studied and understood the “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.”
While those who support this legislation claim it contains safeguards against abuse, there is no way for those safeguards to be enforced since there are no mechanisms in place to do so. The disability rights community is rightly concerned about the potential for abuse in these bills because abuse of elderly and disabled people is a growing problem. Coercion, for example, is virtually impossible to prove or prevent.
Read more at the NJ Star Ledger…