Growing dissatisfaction among families whose terminally ill loved ones face excruciating suffering has ignited debate over whether people should be allowed to control their deaths by asking doctors for lethal prescriptions.
On the side opposing assisted suicide is the Patients Rights Action Fund, led by executive director Matt Valliere. The group believes legalizing medically assisted suicide isn’t the answer to problems with how the medical system handles care at the end of life, where providers tend to pursue every intervention possible without regard to the quality of life or a person’s wishes.
Valliere said it turns out multiple other groups “from left to right, from secular to religious, and everywhere in between” don’t accept assisted suicide as a solution either. Some of them even fight each other on other issues, and that’s where the Patient Rights Action Fund comes in: to help conservatives, disability rights advocates, medical workers, and faith-based groups work together against assisted suicide laws…
Even though more states are passing similar laws, Valliere claims that his group is also seeing victories. Recent attempts at legalizing assisted suicide were unsuccessful in New York, Nevada, and New Mexico. Large doctor groups, including the American Medical Association and the World Medical Association, remain opposed to the practice.
Many who oppose assisted suicide laws worry that they will snowball into targeting vulnerable people, including those with disabilities. But to Valliere, the current laws already do that. He notes the same diagnoses that allow people to seek assisted suicide are also conditions that would qualify people as being disabled. Some of these include cancer or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“If inherent in assisted suicide, both the public policy itself and in the practice, you have a circumstance where people with disabilities are being given a different, and not as good treatment, as those without, you have an inherently discriminatory practice in public policy,” Valliere said. “If you want to say that it’s not discriminatory, then you would have to offer it to everybody.”
Read more at the Washington Examiner…