Top Pro & Con Arguments
MAID endangers vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities, the elderly, and people of color.
Among the dangers of legalizing medical aid in dying is the potential to exploit the laws to kill vulnerable people.
The Center for Disability Rights points to the troubling reality that many disabled people are at the mercy of unscrupulous caregivers, medical providers, and insurance companies. Legal MAID endangers a community “at grave risk of coercion and abuse while creating an opportunity for insurance companies to enhance their bottom line.”
Legalizing MAID “invites coercion,” according to attorney Margaret Dore, because abusive or impatient heirs and caregivers can shepherd the elderly toward suicide by helping them complete the necessary steps, picking up their medication, and potentially even administering the lethal drug because no witnesses are required at the time of death.
“BIPOC [Black Indigenous and People of Color] Disabled people are at greater risk from assisted suicide laws because of racial disparities in health care,” says Ayishetu Salifu Mamudu, Deaf Systems Advocate at the Regional Center for Independent Living. “Although privileged white people present this as a rights issue, the reality is that BIPOC are in the cross hairs of this bad policy. I urge policy makers to recognize that and understand that in establishing this rights [sic] for some people, BIPOC individuals – and others – will die before their time. That is unacceptable.”
Instead of facilitating suicide, palliative care is an effective, compassionate solution that does not imperil vulnerable groups. Zach Garafalo, Manager of Government Affairs at the Center for Disability Rights, points out that “anyone dying in discomfort that is not otherwise relievable, already may legally receive palliative sedation, wherein the patient is sedated to the point that the discomfort is relieved while the dying process takes place. We already have a legal solution to any uncomfortable deaths that does not endanger others the way an assisted suicide law does.” Legal hospice organizations already provide this end-of-life care and comfort.Read More