‘We need to continue our work to prevent suicide’

Published: 11/11/2020 3:53:21 PM

Growing up I was taught to respect people, especially my elders. It seems that society as a whole has lost respect for each other. The elders of today are no longer valued, the lessons of life they could teach us fall on deaf ears because we are too busy to sit and listen. It is up to lawmakers to ensure that vulnerable populations, like the elderly, have the care and support they need, not institutionalize suicide.

My grandmother is 93-years-old. Her biggest complaint is not about physical pain, but rather a loss of autonomy. This is a serious concern. Loss of autonomy is one of the top five reasons that people choose assisted suicide. But the answer to this concern is to have family spend time with her and to get good care, not death. My grandmother, like all of our elders, need to know that no matter how they feel, they are valued and respected. The last thing that our they need is legislation that makes death more accessible and makes elders feel as if they are a burden on society.

Despite proponents’ claims, assisted suicide laws are impossible to regulate. The so-called “safeguards” are woefully inadequate, and these laws open the door to abuse, harm, and coercion to happen to vulnerable people. A report published by the National Council on Disability about the effects of assisted suicide laws on the disability community says these so-called “safeguards” are “ineffective, and often fail to protect patients.” It is irresponsible to legalize a policy that has been reviewed by an independent federal agency and found to be a deadly threat to vulnerable populations.

Suicide is something that causes us to have negative feelings and should not be endorsed. We need to continue our work to prevent suicide, not place a stamp of approval on it. Rather than legalize assisted suicide, let us work together to ensure that everyone, including our elders, receive quality medical care and treatment options.

Rev. Esteban Carrasco Jr. is the senior pastor at House of Destiny Church in Southbridge.

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