Disability Rights Advocates Speak Against Assisted Suicide

Since 2016, advocates of assisted suicide have been pushing for the state of New York to pass a law allowing physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients. To date, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and other principled opponents of assisted suicide have been successful in blocking this legislation. In 2024, however, the movement for physician-assisted death has redoubled its efforts here in the Empire State. Thankfully, the opposition is pushing back.

On February 14, 2024, two representatives of the disability rights community appeared on Capital Tonight to discuss their opposition to assisted suicide. According to Alex Thompson of the New York Association on Independent Living, “‘The biggest concern is, is this really a choice? We’ve seen in Canada and other places where this is legalized, where instead of people being offered support to be in the community and still have a level of autonomy, they are offered assisted suicide.’”

Max Rodriguez of the Center for Disability Rights raised concerns about the potential for drug misuse. Specifically, Rodriguez questioned the lack of a tracking system for lethal drugs after they have been dispensed by prescription. For years, assisted suicide opponents have noted that the absence of safeguards surrounding lethal drugs could allow abusive caregivers to take the lives of patients who have not consented to assisted suicide.

Disability rights advocates have been some of the strongest opponents of assisted suicide legalization in New York. They are—correctly—concerned that persons with disabilities could be manipulated or pressured into assisted suicide. For these reasons and many, many others, assisted suicide should never become legal in the state of New York.

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