In case you missed it: “Aid in living, not dying”

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We have obviously reached a turning point in the assisted suicide debate in Maryland.  The legislation has been withdrawn in the Senate and, though unconfirmed, is likely to be withdrawn in the House.

This happened because of incredible advocacy from a diverse coalition, and an unfailing drive to convey the real problems with the policy of assisted suicide.  The legislation as proposed was dangerous, yes, but we also know that the policy as a whole should be questioned for its inherent risks.

Those risks were eloquently outlined in the Baltimore Sun by Sam Crane, the legal director and director of public policy for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

Ms. Crane powerfully and correctly asserts that these laws “make people with disabilities more vulnerable and reinforce the damaging perception that life with a disability is ‘undignified’ and not worth living.”

This legislation could still be pressed forward if the proponents refuse to see the writing on the wall, and there is no question that this legislation will be back in some shape or form in future legislative sessions.

It’s with unwavering commitment and strong principles like those shown in Sam Crane’s excellent op-ed, that we can defeat this policy for good.  As Sam put it:

“People with significant disabilities, including people with life-threatening diagnoses, do not need to die to have dignity. Instead, they need access to the things that help them make the most of their remaining time: palliative care, respectful in-home supports, counseling and assistive technology to maximize autonomy. Let’s focus on aid in living, not ‘aid in dying.’”

We hope you take a moment to read this op-ed.

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