Colorado Disability Activists Protest Ballot Measure to Legalize Assisted Suicide

State   |   Not Dead Yet   |   Aug 9, 2016   |   3:54PM   |   Denver, CO

Disability rights activists from ADAPT and Not Dead Yet held a funeral march from the Atlantis Community to the Secretary of State Office on Monday to protest the assisted suicide measure being considered for the Colorado ballot. The group stepped off from the Atlantis Community at 10:15 a.m. and marched north to the Secretary of State’s office where they held a wreath laying ceremony shortly after the noon hour.

“We are engaging in this street theater to educate the community about how legalization of assisted suicide will cause people to needlessly lose their lives through mistakes, coercion and abuse,” said Dawn Russell, ADAPT advocate and Atlantis Community board member.

“Elder abuse, and abuse of people with disabilities, are a rising problem,” said Anita Cameron, an ADAPT advocate, and Not Dead Yet board member. “With legalized physician-assisted suicide, an heir or abusive caregiver may steer someone towards assisted suicide, witness the request, pick up the lethal dose, and even give the drug — no witnesses are required at the death, so who would know?” she said.

“Colorado’s suicide rate is among the highest in the nation,” said Cameron. “This bill will promote suicide to one class of disabled citizens, rather than provide suicide prevention. That is discrimination.”

These bills simply do not have any effective safeguards to prevent abuse,” said Robin Stephens, a longtime disability rights activist and Not Dead Yet board member. “Death certificates are required to be falsified, no witness is required at the death, and a greedy heir can witness the request for a lethal prescription. Colorado does not need this initiative.”

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ADAPT is a grassroots disability rights organization with chapters in 30 states. It uses nonviolent direct action in order to bring attention and awareness to the lack of civil rights the disability community experiences.

Not Dead Yet is a national, grassroots disability rights group that opposes legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia as deadly forms of discrimination against old, ill and disabled people. Not Dead Yet helps organize and articulate opposition to these practices based on secular social justice arguments. Not Dead Yet demands the equal protection of the law for the targets of so called “mercy killing” whose lives are seen as worth-less.