My response to this piece is in the New Haven Register. This is the crux of it:
“An Oregon-style law would create “death row” for sick people — with far less rigor or transparency.”
(Read the entire letter here.)
In my letter, I cite information from Time Magazine on the execution of Michael Lee Wilson, as well as the Oregon Public Health Division’s annual reports. On minorities and hospice use, I got my key statistic here, but similar troubling disparities have been shown by more than one study, while this source gets into the kaleidoscope of reasons those disparities exist and the efforts being made to overcome them.
A friend pointed out to me that one of the commenters appears to have mistaken me for “the liberal left.” I could not help but smile at that and I won’t be going out of my way to correct it. People can read me however they like; the bottom line is that assisted suicide is bad public policy that endangers vulnerable people. That transcends political ideology.
Readers, feel free to use my letter as a template for your own letters. We need all of them — your voice can make a difference even if your letter is never published. Don’t feel you are very eloquent? Neither did Moses. Be bold.
Sidewalks Closed, Eyes Opened
Incidentally, another letter that could have been a companion piece to mine ran a few days ago. This one reminds us, in the midst of an epic New England winter, that an inconvenience to able-bodied people represents a radical challenge to others’ ability to participate in life simply because of a mobility issue. I was struck by that idea on my morning commute recently as I watched a gentleman in a wheelchair, seeing the option of either navigating in the road versus an inadequately cleared sidewalk (past deadline), choose the road. While I do not wish to demonize proprietors, they may have considered the sidewalk “good enough” — for themselves, or for me. I could hardly think of a clearer way to send the message “You are invisible to us.” We must open our eyes to all we take for granted in order to more fully grasp the potential devastating impact of assisted suicide.