Letter to the editor published in the Grand Junction Sentinel August 30, 2015 by Not Dead Yet Colorado:
Assisted suicide puts the disabled at risk
It was disappointing to see the article “Assisted suicide may be on ballot” and the editorial “Ballot the wrong way to decide right to die” not mention the disabled community’s opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia.
We agree with the Sentinel that Wright’s ballot measure is wrong for Colorado. We oppose any law that would allow some people’s lives to be ended without their consent. There will be mistakes and abuse, and as a result, people will die needlessly — preventable deaths that can never be undone.
I am a person with a terminal condition covered by Rep. Court’s proposed bill — muscular dystrophy, and I am reliant on life support machines to live. Court’s bill will enact lethal discrimination. Some people who want to die receive suicide assistance, and others — non-disabled individuals — receive suicide prevention.
I want to be assured that if I become depressed, I will receive the suicide prevention that I would so desperately need. Instead, due to society and the medical establishment’s devaluation of my life, I would likely be offered suicide assistance if Court’s bill passes.
Assisted suicide and euthanasia are a deadly mix in a profit-driven healthcare system where a lethal prescription may become the cheapest treatment. The bill and ballot measure pose a direct threat to the lives of disabled people and the elderly. Assisted suicide is unnecessary, as every patient already has the right to refuse treatment, or receive palliative sedation if pain cannot be controlled at the end of life.
Every major disability rights organization that has taken a position on assisted suicide and euthanasia opposes legalization because legalized assisted suicide puts disabled people — particularly those with severe disabilities — at risk.