Letter: Assisted suicide safeguards ignored – Times Union

Letter: Assisted suicide safeguards ignored – Times Union

It’s hard to say whether the assisted suicide promoters featured in “A right to die with dignity” (July 1) are confused about the law or surprisingly revealing about their goals.

The new founder of Death With Dignity-Albany, holding a local meeting, talked about how horrible it was that her aunt had a feeding tube after irreparable brain damage. Feeding tubes can be removed based on the patient’s informed consent, advance directive or health care proxy’s decision. It has nothing to do with assisted suicide.

People attending the meeting wanted the proposed doctor-prescribed suicide law not to be limited to people who are predicted to die within six months or people who are considered mentally capable at the time the lethal drugs would be obtained.

The assisted suicide eligibility requirement of a six-month life expectancy, however unreliable in practice, is often touted as a “safeguard” in the so-called model Oregon law, though a 2015 bill in that state proposed to extend it to a one-year prognosis. The mental capability requirement is also a supposed safeguard, to protect against unscrupulous family members.

But these proponents’ attitudes show that assisted suicide laws may work more like highway speed limits. All too many people ignore them, no matter how many lives may be put at risk.

Diane Coleman

President/CEO, Not Dead Yet



Source: Letter: Assisted suicide safeguards ignored – Times Union