Connecticut Hospice has released Parts 5 and 6 of its video series on assisted suicide. Although there are reports that the bill is dead for this legislative session, we at FIC are still prepared for any surprises in the coming weeks.
In Part 5, Dr. Andrews questions why such a controversial issue is at the forefront when there are many other legislative priorities that could improve life in Connecticut for more people across the board. To the things he lists, we would add the Right to Try bill that we supported. Where was the Group Formerly Known as Hemlock Society on that choice?
In Part 6, Dr. Andrews addresses the very real fears of people with disabilities from their lived experience.
Drawing any comparison, no matter how apt, to the activities of the Nazis tends to be easy fodder for those who wail about Godwin’s Law, but it bears repeating that the “mercy killing” of a disabled child — chilling as that is — became the vehicle for something much larger and even more sinister. From The Telegraph:
“It was during his trial at Nuremberg that Karl Brandt, Hitler’s personal doctor, revealed that an unnamed infant had provided the Nazis with the excuse to embark on creating a master race.
“The baby’s father, Richard Kretschmar, from the small Saxony town of Pomssen, near Leipzig, had written to Hitler’s office in early 1939 asking for permission to kill his blind and deformed son. …
“Only a month after the baby’s killing, in August 1939, Hitler’s Interior Ministry issued the decree ordering the systematic annihilation of mentally and physically disabled children.”
The regime may be gone, but significant prejudice against disability and shame about dependence remain; fear and pride go masquerading as compassion. There is a widespread assumption that nobody would want to live “like that.”
Even if HB 7015 is defeated, this is an issue that, for the last century, has never really gone away. We must continue our vigilance.