Disability Rights Groups Silenced in NJ PAS Debate

by Christopher White, Ramsey Institute Project Director on December 10, 2014

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Last month we alerted you to the effort underway to legalize physician assisted suicide (PAS) in New Jersey. The NJ state assembly has now successfully passed a bill in favor of the practice, though it’s unlikely to pass the senate. And if it were to reach his desk, Governor Chris Christie will almost certainly veto it. That’s the good news.

But in the meantime, a form of egregious discrimination is taking place. The bill is now in committee at the state senate, and as our friends at Not Dead Yet are reporting, they have banned disability rights groups from participating in the hearing. Meanwhile, the “Compassion and Choices” group (formerly the Hemlock Society) in favor of the bill will be allowed to testify.

Disability rights activists have been some of the most vocal and successful opponents of physician-assisted suicide over the years, as they rightly argue that the measure could be used to prematurely end the lives of those who are disabled. If anyone doubts this, please take a look at the latest facts and figures in Belgium where physician assisted suicide reigns supreme.

In a recent op-ed in the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Fordham professor and NJ resident Charlie Camosy urged his fellow NJ residents and lawmakers: “Let’s kill the pain rather than patient. Care and accompaniment over violence and abandonment.”

As of now, it seems that the power brokers in New Jersey aren’t interested in paying attention to these real matters at stake. In fact, they’re not even willing to hear from those whom this bill might affect the most.

Shame on you, NJ state senators.

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