In Colorado, assisted suicide proponents have submitted an initiative to amend the state’s constitution that would legalize assisted suicide. The ballot initiative is called Liberty at Life’s End (or Medical Sovereignty) and argues that Coloradans should have the right to a so-called “peaceful death through the administration of oral and intravenous drugs.”
This proposal is particularly alarming because it would legalize the killing of patients who are medically incompetent and unable to make their own medical decisions, such as young children and adults who have profound cognitive disabilities.” In other words, people could be euthanized in Colorado without giving consent.
Thankfully, pro-life, religious and disability groups in Colorado will oppose the new ballot initiative.
In a press release from disability rights group Not Dead Yet, Carrie Ann Lucas said the following about the initiative: “Not Dead Yet is among a long list of disability rights organizations opposing the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. This amendment is a deadly mix in a profit-driven healthcare system where a lethal prescription may become the cheapest treatment. The bill poses a direct threat to the lives of persons with disabilities and the elderly.”
Sometimes people pursue assisted suicide because they are depressed about their illness or disability and feel they can’t get the care they need.
For example, in Oregon, depressed people have died by assisted suicide without proper mental health evaluations, and patients were denied medical treatment and steered to assisted suicide by the state health plan. Lucas concluded, “Sadly, many, including the amendment’s primary proponent, fear disability more than death itself. This fear already causes so-called ‘mercy killings’, and should not drive public policy.”
Another leader with Not Dead Yet, Anita Cameron, said, “This amendment is unnecessary, as every patient already has the right to refuse treatment. This proposal has no safeguards to protect against abuse and coercion. Legalizing physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia is like putting fire into a paper bag: There’s no way to control it.”
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The Colorado legislature already defeated one proposal to legalize assisted suicide.
As LifeNews previously reported, on February 6th, the Colorado Death with Dignity Act (HB 1135) was defeated in the Public Health Care & Human Service Committee with a final vote of 8-5. Colorado Citizens for Life, the state affiliate of National Right to Life, opposed HB 1135 because it would have legalized assisted suicide in Colorado; and the legislation had inadequate safeguards, ambiguous language and the potential for abuse of the states most vulnerable populations, like the elderly and disabled.
In October 2014, terminally ill cancer patient, Brittany Maynard, became the face of the assisted suicide movement and her death initiated legislation like HB 1135 in states across the country. Brittany had stage IV glioblastoma multiforme, which is the most deadly form of brain cancer and was given six-months to live.
After her diagnosis, Brittany decided to move from her California home to Oregon so she could have access to lethal drugs to use to take her own life. Oregon, along with Washington and Vermont, have legalized assisted suicide. Tragically, on November 2nd, Brittany legally ended her own life with a lethal dose of Phenobarbital.
Although Brittany’s diagnosis was tragic, assisted suicide is not the answer for terminal patients because it preys on the disabled, the elderly and people dealing with advanced illnesses. When death is presented as a solution for illness or advancing age, it represents a society that is turning its back on the medically vulnerable who are at risk of depression or mental health concerns and worried about the future.