Any moral society has a duty and a responsibility to protect and defend the vulnerable and the marginalized. But the assisted suicide legislation some Massachusetts lawmakers are considering is a dangerous public policy that threatens the most vulnerable in society: the elderly, people with disabilities, and the terminally ill.

Now in the midst of a global pandemic, the focus of legislators should be on ensuring that quality medical care is available to every Massachusetts’ resident, rather than making death more accessible. Assisted suicide cannot be regulated, is ripe for abuse and coercion, fails to address patients’ existential concerns, and is overwhelmingly opposed by the medical community. I urge our Massachusetts’ legislators to consider the deadly threat that legalizing assisted suicide would impose on our most vulnerable residents and to reject this policy.

Assisted suicide is impossible to regulate despite the so-called “safeguards.” There is no way to ensure that coercion, abuse, and harm will not befall vulnerable populations if this legislation is enacted. There is nothing to stop a greedy relative who stands to inherit a large sum from coercing an elderly relative into assisted suicide. Assisted suicide also unfairly targets people with disabilities.

In a report on the effect of assisted suicide on the disability community published by the National Council on Disability, an independent federal agency, it states that the “safeguards” in assisted suicide laws are “ineffective, and often fail to protect patients.” At a time when many in the disability community are already worried about healthcare rationing because of the pandemic, Massachusetts should not compound this worry by advancing assisted suicide legislation…

Read more at the Worcester Telegram…

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