I am a 32 year old quadriplegic who works as a “Systems Advocate” in Rochester, New York. I am a college graduate and currently working on my Masters’ degree. I was disturbed to see Joel Marks’ forum piece, advocating for legalized assisted suicide. (“Extending life no favor for some”).
When I was 19 years old, I was in an automobile accident, which led to my becoming disabled. I subsequently found myself in two different hospitals, where two different sets of doctors repeatedly and sometimes daily pressured my parents and later me directly, to agree to ending my life. Fortunately, my mother was a strong advocate and refused to listen. Once I was better and recuperated, I was also a strong advocate for myself which helped me to advocate for others. Had we faltered, I would have missed out on some of the best years of my life.
Legalizing assisted suicide will expand the ability of doctors to legally kill their patients and/or pressure patients to kill themselves. With the “option” of assisted suicide, family members and others who might benefit from a death will be similarly empowered. Not everyone will have the support that I had. Our most vulnerable citizens will be at risk.