Life With Dignity

In our pandemic strained, profit-driven health care system, intractable pain and the fear of unimaginable suffering is not one of the top five reasons surveyed that many of society’s most vulnerable feel driven towards assisted suicide; Loss of autonomy, dignity and the perceived fear of being a burden to family, friends and caregivers, rather, have framed assisted suicide as their preferred medical treatment.

Dr. Joshua C. Briscoe’s compelling article argues against the case for assisted suicide and the idea that the individual, rather than existential and disability-related concerns of the individual, have become the burden, asking: “Instead of figuring out ways to help people die, what if we devoted our energy to helping them live, even and especially if they are dying?”

The disability community have asked this same question under the specter of a two-tiered system that has offered suicide prevention for some people and the promotion of assisted suicide for people with disabilities.

Underscoring this tension of the illusion of choice in a healthcare system that promotes assisted suicide, Dr. Briscoe in his response to Dr. Henrich’s argument notes two key alarms Henrich has failed to heed: That the use of death as a medical instrument is unwieldy and harmful as is the mere offer of it.

“A person’s choices are theirs to make, of course, but they choose among the options given to them.” Dr. Briscoe affirms. And in this nexus of the most vulnerable, of the disabled, the poor, the elderly and people of color, the limited options provided can be measured in degrees of discrimination and despair in the apparent cost-effective denial of equal access to life-extending and life-saving health care.

For Dr. Briscoe, “The conditions that lead someone to consider suicide require, first, lament.” Removing said conditions begins with challenging “the belief that individuals…can become burdens.” And secondly, to “affirm their dignity by offering to help them bear their burdens.” And surely, to reject and remove the dangerous and discriminatory public policy of assisted suicide legislation wherever it may be found\

Matt Vallière in the LA Times

Matt Vallière in the Los Angeles Times Thanks to the LA Times for sharing Matt’s letter, which strongly opposes assisted suicide laws. Read his letter to the editor below: Steve Lopez asks, “Will the option [of assisted suicide] be there for others?” To plaintiffs in the referenced lawsuit and many in the disability, older adult

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33rd Anniversary of ADA

Celebrating 33 Years of the ADA Today marks the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On this day, July 26th, 1990, the ADA was signed and enshrined civil rights protections into law for people with disabilities. Today and every ADA anniversary, the Patients’ Rights Action Fund (PRAF) celebrates the

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Advocates for Assisted Suicide Begin to Fear the Case in California

Advocates for Assisted Suicide Begin to Fear the Case in California Proponents of assisted suicide are beginning to write articles and speak up about their worries and opposition to the case filed in California to end assisted suicide.  While the initial response to this groundbreaking case was severely delayed, opinion pieces and statements of opposition

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