Oregon assisted suicide: claims of no abuse are “demonstrably false”

by Diane Coleman, Not Dead Yet, 4 October 2016

Dr Coleman is the President and CEO of Not Dead Yet, the American “grassroots disability rights group that opposes legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia as deadly forms of discrimination.”

She analyses the official reports of assisted suicide in Oregon to debunk  the “claims by proponents of assisted suicide laws that there is ‘no evidence or data’ to support any claim that these laws are subject to abuse, and that there has not been ‘a single documented case of abuse or misuse’ in the 18 reported years. These claims are demonstrably false.”

The Oregon Health Division assisted suicide reports show that non-terminal people receive lethal prescriptions every year.

Neither doctors nor witnesses need know the person well enough to certify that they are not being coerced.

In about half the cases, there is no evidence of consent or self-administration at the time of ingestion of the lethal drugs. If the drugs were, in some cases, administered by others without consent, no one would know.

The top five reasons doctors give for their patients’ assisted suicide requests are not pain or fear of future pain, but psychological issues that are all-too-familiar to the disability community: “loss of autonomy” (92%), “less able to engage in activities” (90%), “loss of dignity” (79%), “losing control of bodily functions” (48%), and “burden on others” (41%).

These reasons for requesting assisted suicide pertain to disability and indicate that over 90% of the reported individuals, possibly as many as 100%, are disabled.

The data substantiates problems with the implementation of assisted suicide laws and validates the concern that the risks of mistake, coercion and abuse are too great. Well-informed legislators on both sides of the aisle should vote against assisted suicide bills.

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