By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
New Jersey Assisted Suicide Bill A2270 was pulled in the New Jersey State Assembly June 26, the day that the PolitickerNJ published an article by disability rights leader, John Kelly titled “Assisted Suicide: Just Too Dangerous.”
NJ.com reported that the State Assembly did not vote on the assisted suicide bill because, John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), the sponsor of the bill, could not find enough votes to get it passed. Burzichelli “said he hopes to bring it back to the full Assembly for consideration after the summer recess,” according to Susan K. Livio.
Week before last, New Jersey Governor Christie stated that he would veto the assisted suicide bill.
Kelly, the regional coordinator for Not Dead Yet stated in his article :
“Similar bills have been submitted all over the Northeast, and they sound good at first – who’s against relieving suffering, who opposes personal autonomy? Health and Senior Services committee chair Herb Conaway summed it up before his yes vote, ‘People have the right to self-determination.’
“But a closer look reveals the opposite – these bills inevitably and ineradicably compromise personal autonomy. And of the more people learn about these bills, the more they oppose them. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut each rejected assisted suicide bills this session.”
With respect to the lives of people with disabilities, Kelly stated:
“In the disability community, everyone knows people who have been labeled ‘terminal,’ it’s actually a bit of a joke. Morristown’s Dawn Teresa Parkot’s testified at the hearing on A2270 that doctors predicted she would be ‘a mindless vegetable … lucky to survive to age 5.’ Parkot spoke of her bachelor degrees in computer science and engineering, and said, “Often patients are misdiagnosed and could make an irreversible decision to die based on the wrong information.”
Livio referred to the opposition to assisted suicide by the disability rights community by stating:
“Disability advocates, fearing the legislation could be manipulated to prematurely end patients’ lives, turned out in force to testify against the bill when it passed the Assembly Health and Senior Citizens Committee earlier this month.”
The article concluded by stating that Burzichelli remains committed to legalizing assisted suicide.
The New Jersey Alliance Against Doctor Prescribed Suicide is also committed to protecting New Jersey citizens from assisted su icide.