Advocate groups including the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) are in a national coalition against assisted suicide or death with dignity laws.
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Organizations mentioned/involved: Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)
Oregon’s 1997 “Death with Dignity Act” is the first and most famous law that allowed individuals to take life-ending drugs.
Not Dead Yet, an advocacy group for people with disabilities, works with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) and the Massachusetts activist group Second Thought in a national coalition against similar assisted suicide or death with dignity laws.
Reasons such as the loss of autonomy, ability to engage in enjoyable activities, loss of dignity, and unendurable pain as motivations for this legislation.
Advocates in opposition say that these reasons are rooted in a fear of disability. Though the laws often bar physicians from allowing people with disabilities to take life-ending drugs, people who fear becoming disabled or losing their quality of life are still at risk of ending their life prematurely.
Marilyn Golden, senior policy analyst at DREDF, who uses a wheelchair as a result of injury, has personal experience about her initial anxieties about her future quality of life. “At the beginning, I felt that the injury was unbearable,” she said. “A year later, it hit me: There was no change in my quality of life.”Tags: Disability Rights