We are facing another wave of trying to legalize assisted suicide in Minnesota. Three years ago, legislation would have authorized doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication for patients to intentionally end their own lives. The bill failed after advocates for people with disabilities testified that the legislation would threaten the lives of the most vulnerable in our state. The Minnesota House of Representatives is again proposing similar legislation.
It is still a very bad idea.
As someone with a history of fighting for vulnerable people, Hubert Humphrey stated his concerns for those “who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and those with disabilities.“ The current rush to provide assisted suicide as a “treatment” option will leave those without a voice defenseless to decisions made by bureaucrats and profit-driven health insurance programs.
There is a misconception that people with disabilities cannot lead “normal,” happy lives. Just because a person has a disability does not mean their life is any less valuable, productive, or happy. In a society that prizes physical ability and stigmatizes people with disabilities, it’s no surprise that people may tend to equate disability with a loss of dignity and human-ness.
There are too many unanswered questions. What safeguards will be included to assure that vulnerable people will be taken care of? Where is the due process of rights for those individuals? Who will protect their lives?
What happens when the insurance industry starts to view assisted suicide as new “treatment” option to bring about financial savings?
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