Disability Rights Oregon has received ZERO complaints in the 20 years since Oregon’s medical aid-in-dying law was implemented.
We cannot advocate for the rights of people living with disabilities to be able to make their own choices and healthcare decisions during life, only to deny those freedoms at the end of life. I believe much of the objection to medical aid in dying is driven by fear and misunderstanding. Dying is a part of living.
– Gene Hughes, disability rights advocate, Utica, New York
NINE FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. The medical aid-in-dying and disability rights movements share important core values: autonomy, independence and self-determination.
2. Medical aid-in-dying laws protect people with disabilities from coercion and exploitation through strict eligibility requirements and safeguards. In states where medical aid in dying is not authorized, people with disabilities are actually more vulnerable to coercion and abuse.
3. A person with a disability is only eligible for medical aid in dying if they are terminally ill with six months or less to live. In addition, the person has to be an adult, able to make informed healthcare decisions, and able to take the medication themselves.
4. No one can get a medical aid-in-dying prescription unless and until two doctors and two independent witnesses confirm that the person requesting it is not being coerced to do so.
5. Coercing someone to use medical aid in dying is a felony punishable under state criminal laws.
6. In a combined 40 years of practice across jurisdictions that authorize medical aid in dying, there has not been a single case of abuse or coercion nor any criminal or disciplinary charges filed, not one. Currently medical aid in dying is authorized in eight jurisdictions.
7. Two out of three people living with a disability support medical aid in dying according to surveys in Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
8. The Disability Rights Legal Center has declared that medical aid in dying “poses no threat to people with disabilities.”
9. Activists in the disability community — like Dr. Steven Hawking, among others — are some of the strongest supporters of medical aid in dying as an option.