As pastors, we see firsthand the issues that the most vulnerable members of our society face. I see what happens when one life is deemed more valuable than another and that is exactly why we are opposed to legalizing assisted suicide in Massachusetts. Assisted suicide unfairly targets the most vulnerable: the terminally ill, people with disabilities and the elderly. We urge legislators to reject this dangerous policy and instead work to provide better care and treatment for those most in need.
Despite often cited claims of safety, assisted suicide laws are incredibly difficult to regulate. The so-called “safeguards” built into these laws are lacking at best. The truth is, assisted suicide laws open the door to abuse, harm and coercion against the most vulnerable in society. According to a study published by the National Council on Disability detailing the effects of assisted suicide laws on the disability community, the so-called “safeguards” are “ineffective and often fail to protect patients.” It is simply too risky to legalize assisted suicide when the well-being and safety of all Massachusetts’ residents cannot be guaranteed.
Assisted suicide also fails to address the underlying reasons why people choose assisted suicide in the first place. In Oregon, where assisted suicide has been legal the longest, data shows that pain/suffering do not make it into the top five reasons that people choose assisted suicide. Rather, the top five reasons people choose assisted suicide are existential or disability-related in nature including: being less able to engage in enjoyable activities, loss of autonomy, loss of dignity, being a burden on family/friends and losing control of bodily functions. These concerns are serious and deserve to be addressed with proper treatment and counseling, not an early death.
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