Assisted suicide legislation endangers those with disabilities

Assisted suicide legislation endangers those with disabilities

I live in Newark with my husband Joe. We have five sons and one daughter. Our 32-year-old daughter has cerebral palsy. She does not walk, talk or stand without the support of equipment. My husband and I bathe her, dress her, feed her and love her each day. We love her as much as our other five children. And her life is a life worth living.

I have been an advocate for and with my daughter for the last 32 years. Every year when assisted suicide legislation comes up for debate, my daughter and I come to Dover to testify. She sits through the testimony of others saying that they want to die or their relative wants to die because they could no longer talk, walk, eat, bathe or get dressed without assistance. It hurts me to hear this and I know it hurts my daughter. And yes, without us supporting her in the community, or without life-saving medicines, she would probably die within six months. Supporters of assisted suicide always focus on the “indignity” of needing help to eat, move or take medications. This legislation sends a clear and callous message that my daughter’s life is not worth living.

In Oregon, which passed nearly identical legislation about 20 years ago, the latest data from 2017 indicate that most patients who died from assisted suicide had disability-related concerns. In fact, only 21% cited concerns about pain control. Compare that to 87.4% cited losing autonomy. Some 88.1% cited fear of being less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable, and 67.1% cited loss of dignity. Some 37.1% cited losing control of bodily functions and 55% were concerned about being a burden on family or caregivers.

Read more at Delaware State News…