Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

P.A.M.A.S.

oUR mISSION

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide seeks to build a progressive, disability and human justice-based movement to prevent the legalization of medical assisted suicide and euthanasia and to end these practices where they exist. As progressives, we believe that these issues cut to the heart of what kind of society we want to live in.

We believe that the people who stand in the greatest danger of being further victimized by Medical Assisted Suicide are the poor, elderly, disabled, and people of color who are already marginalized, devalued, and threatened daily under the current medical system.

We stand for economic and civil justice; universal, comprehensive, quality, and unrestricted healthcare for all; reproductive rights; and justice and safety for LGBTQIA people. We work to open a path for our fellow progressives who share these values to also recognize the dangers of Medical Assisted Suicide and euthanasia and to join us in opposing these practices.

"If assisted suicide is legal, some people’s lives will be ended without their consent, through mistakes and abuse. No safeguards have ever been enacted, or even proposed, that can prevent this outcome, which can never be undone."
Marilyn Golden, 1954-2021
Policy Analyst, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
"For some of us, the issue we are discussing today is profoundly personal and, in terms of political and social realities, profoundly terrifying."
Elaine Kolb
Disability Justice Activist

Progressives Against Medical Assisted Suicide

Pro - Choice
Anti - Medical Assisted Suicide

"While rarely acknowledged by proponents, this much is certain- wherever Assisted Suicide is legal, it is inevitable that some people’s lives will be ended without their consent due to implicit bias, mistakes, or coercion. No safeguards, existing or proposed, are adequate enough to prevent these abuses, and the lack of oversight increases the danger to already at-risk individuals. As Assisted Suicide spreads and is normalized, the numbers of those at risk will grow to include other marginalized communities, such as people of color, due to racial disparities in health care, and poor people, who likely would have limited or no access to health care."
Anita Cameron
Director for Minority Outreach
Not Dead Yet

Medically Assisted Suicide Threatens

The Poor, elderly, disabled and...

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"When doctors operate under the assumption that people with significant disabilities are ‘suffering’, an early death can begin to look reasonable. I began to understand that permitting physician Assisted Suicide would discourage doctors from thinking of people with disabilities as having a life worth living. If … physicians are permitted to end lives, people with significant disabilities will be vulnerable because they often don’t want to be a burden on society and are deferential to physician’s knowledge...I have thus changed my position. I no longer support what is euphemistically called ‘death with dignity.’ I see it as a dangerous option that devalues the lives of people with disabilities and will lead to Eugenics.”
Nancy Alisberg
Retired Legal Director at Disability Rights Connecticut, former Managing Attorney at the Connecticut State Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons With Disabilities
By: Amy E. Hasbrouck
"A public policy, by definition, has to protect the public from harm. Safeguards don’t work. Multiple examples confirm that poverty, housing insecurity, need for paid personal care aides, mental illness, and overwhelming family caregiver burden are often the primary motivator behind the request. In other cases, patients did not even initiate the request but have been offered aid in dying by clinicians as an alternative when needed support services were not covered.

Pressure both from families and overwhelmed healthcare systems is a reality. Given the burdens of care imposed on families when a loved one is seriously ill, access to a legal option to avoid a long period of debility and need for costly personal care has undeniable appeal- but not necessarily to the patient. In one instance I was contacted by email by the wife of a patient with recurrent glioblastoma to discuss his care options. Because of his mobility difficulties, I visited them at home. It quickly became clear that the purpose of the visit was to see if I would help to hasten his death. When I began to explore what had precipitated this request and asked what the patient feared about the future, he looked at his wife and did not answer- his wife did. I explained the benefits of palliative care in terms of symptom relief and support for both patient and the family throughout the remainder of his life- the patient was interested and asked several questions about what home care options were available and about what the process of dying was actually like. I described it. He seemed reassured. His wife however, appeared more and more irritated, saying 'we know all about hospice and we are not interested.' When I asked to speak with him individually, she thanked me for coming and escorted me to the door. Had aid in dying been legal in NY at the time, I have no doubt that she would have found a willing prescriber and helped her husband – who had months to years to live- to hasten his death. When family members are stressed and burdened by the role, when the illness is bankrupting the family, the patient gets the message."
Dr. Diane Meier
Professor, Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Video

PAMAS/Second Thoughts CT Testimonies
Paula Panzarella, Deborah Elkin, Monica McGovern, Joan Cavanagh, Nancy Alisberg, Frank Panzarella, Cathy Ludlum, Kathy Flaherty, John Kelly
Feb. 27, 2023
PAMAS/SECOND THOUGHTS CT PRESS CONFERENCE: Joan Cavanagh, Cathy Ludlum, Nancy Alisberg, Dr. Diane Meier, Elaine Kolb
Feb. 27, 2023
INTERVIEW with Nancy Alisberg and Joan Cavanagh on The Struggle TV News,
Feb. 21, 2022

Most “Reasons” For Assisted Suicide Are Disability Issues

"We must separate our private wishes for what we each may hope to have available for ourselves some day and, rather, focus on the significant dangers of legalizing assisted suicide as public policy in this society as it operates today. Assisted suicide would have many unintended consequences."
Marilyn Golden
Policy Analyst, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
"Unless & until ALL people, including those with complex, compound disabilities and/or other significant disadvantages are provided with basic healthcare & assistive equipment, with accommodations --->> medical assisted suicide is a deadly compulsion -- NOT a "free choice". Universal healthcare, community services, including mental health options & palliative plus hospice care MUST be enacted first. Currently, desperate, profoundly suffering people are routinely denied such treatments or opportunities to live in freedom with dignity in our communities. Then, they are offered poison pills or, in some countries, lethal injections. Euthanasia is the ultimate goal of so-called "Compassion & Choices'. They say so themselves, along with the World Federation of Right to Die Societies. Non-voluntary euthanasia is also on their agenda, down the road..."
ELAINE KOLB
Disability Justice Activist

Links to Articles

Recent Articles by PAMAS and Second Thoughts CT members against MAS legislation