Monday, March 20, 2023

Press Release: Not Dead Yet Opposed to End of Life Options Act

Nationally renowned disability activist Anita Cameron testified at a hearing this morning before the Joint Committee on Public Health of the Massachusetts legislature in opposition to a proposed law to legalize assisted suicide. Witnesses were given only two minutes each. This is her written testimony: 

I’m Anita Cameron, Director of Minority Outreach for Not Dead Yet, a national disability rights organization opposed to medical discrimination, healthcare rationing, euthanasia and assisted suicide. I am here in opposition to H. 2246/S. 1331, the End of Life Options Act, I live with intractable pain. I have multiple disabilities. Two are degenerative. One will take my life. One of my conditions, though chronic, can become terminal if I lose access to treatment. 

These laws are dangerous because though they are supposed to be for people with six months or less to live, doctors are often wrong about a terminal diagnosis. My mother, while living in Washington state, was determined to terminal and was placed in hospice. She didn’t die, but lived almost 12 years! 

[The proposed] law will put sick people, seniors and disabled people, especially, at risk due to the view of doctors that we have a lower quality of life, therefore leading them to devalue our lives. Now add race and racial disparities in healthcare to this. Blacks, in particular, receive inferior health care compared to whites in the areas of cardiac care, diabetes, cancer and pain management.

What’s especially dangerous is that in states where it’s legal, if you lose access to healthcare, turning your chronic condition into a terminal one, you can request assisted suicide. It’ll be cheaper to kill you than to care for you. As long as disability discrimination and racial disparities in healthcare exist, assisted suicide laws have no place in Massachusetts. Please vote no on H. 2246/S. 1331. ###