Second Thoughts MassachusettsWe are Massachusetts residents with disabilities who oppose the legalization of assisted suicide, and any social acceptance of murderers of disabled people. We organized in 2012 to help defeat Massachusetts assisted suicide referendum Question 2, and have since helped stop legislation in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
No December Vote On NJ Senate Assisted Suicide Bill
Next Possible Vote Is January 13
We learned today that the New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney really did not have the votes necessary to pass assisted suicide bill S382. That means that Sweeney's "educational campaign" will continue over the winter break, with the first scheduled voting session set for January 13. That also happens to be the date for Republican Gov. Chris Christie's State of the State speech. Christie has pledged to veto the bill if it passes.
Thanks to Everyone Who Phoned and Emailed senators!
Your Efforts Have Brought Results
Both NJ.com and NorthJersey.com have covered the vigorous opposition of disability rights activists. And the advocates who braved long waits to testify have shown just how serious we are in stopping assisted suicide. For Not Dead Yet's response to Senate health committee chair Joseph Vitale's exclusion of disability representatives from his first hearing, you can read it here.
Below is some of the testimony submitted for the December 15 NJ Senate Hearing
the New Jersey Alliance Against Doctor-Prescribed Suicide
Please follow the more active sites of Not Dead Yet and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)
On Twitter, please follow the national grassroots group Not Dead Yet,the broad New Jersey coalition of disability rights, healthcare, civil rights, and faith-based groups the New Jersey Alliance Against Doctor-Prescribed Suicide, New Jersey disability rights leader Norman A. Smith, and the regionally-active Second Thoughts Connecticut and Second Thoughts Massachusetts
TALKING POINTS –ASSISTED SUICIDE IS BAD MEDICINE
- Deadly Mix: Assisted suicide is a deadly mix with a profit-driven healthcare system. Pressure to cut costs, delays in treatment and limited coverage for home care can lead patients, families and doctors to choose the cheapest alternative, even if that is assisted suicide.
- Self-determination: Assisted suicide is unnecessary because current law gives every person the right to refuse lifesaving treatment, and to have adequate pain relief, including palliative sedation to die in your sleep. Assisted suicide decreases self-determination by giving doctors and insurers the power not just to cure, but to kill.
- Abuse: The proposed law is a recipe for elder abuse. An heir can be a witness and help sign someone up, and once a lethal drug is in the home, no one will know how the drug is administered. If the person struggled, who would know?
- 1 in 10 Massachusetts elders is abused, an increase of 31% in the last three years.
- The law does not prohibit other people – even an heir – from encouraging assisted suicide or "helping" a person make the request.
- Once the prescription is filled, nothing prevents another person from administering the dosage.
- Safeguards: A lack of safeguards and oversight in the proposed law puts people at risk of misdiagnosis, deprivation of treatment and economic pressure to choose suicide, while protecting doctors from liability.
- No mental health evaluation is required for depression or other treatable cause of suicidal feelings.
- If a doctor refuses lethal drugs, the patient or family simply can—and do—find another doctor (“doctor shopping”).
- “Terminal condition” and “death within six months” are often misdiagnosed, opening the dangers of assisted suicide to many who are not terminally ill.
- Nothing in the law can offer protection when family pressures, whether financial or emotional, distort patient choice.
- The law does not include enforcement provisions, investigation authority, oversight or data verification. The only foolproof safeguard is for the prescribing doctors. The law holds doctors only to a “good faith” standard, which makes any safeguards unenforceable.
- Discrimination: A law that singles out some people (such as old, ill and disabled people) for assisted suicide instead of suicide prevention is not in step with Massachusetts' progressive tradition as a leader against discrimination.
Stories from before 2013 on Second Thoughts / Question 2
- Ben Matlin has an op-ed in the New York Times of November 1 entitled "Suicide by Choice? Not so Fast"
- Dr. Kerry Pound in the Salem News, physician's perspective
- Boston Phoenix article Killing with Kindness by S.I. Rosenbaum
- Second Thoughts steering committee member Eileen Feldman in the Somerville Journal.
- No to Question 2, editorial in the Providence Journal editorial by Second Thoughts.
- Victoria Reggie Kennedy's article opposing Question 2 entitled "We are better than that" reprinted widely throughout Massachusetts.
- Rep. Angelo Scaccia, D-Readville, vice chair of Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse Opposes assisted suicide
- American Nurses Association draft statement opposing assisted suicide
- Green-Rainbow party local leader Grace Ross examines the carelessness of Question 2 with lethal drugs in this article
- Letter Against Question 2, advocating
- Extensive coverage on Boston Public Radio Station WBUR:
-- John Kelly versus Marcia Angell I on Radio Boston
-- John versus Marcia Angell, II on Morning Edition with Bob Oakes
For the latest reporting on our efforts against assisted suicide, visit the Not Dead Yet webpage section "In the News"