Assisted suicide went down to defeat in three New England legislatures this year. Similar bills will come back, and activists know it. No fewer than 147 attempts have been made nationwide since Oregon’s law allowing assisted suicide went into effect in 1998. New Jersey residents are fighting an assisted suicide effort even now.
It’s a good time for opponents of assisted suicide to come together for information, encouragement and inspiration. The urgency is intensified by the recent high-profile suicide of Brittany Maynard. Enabled and abetted by a pro-assisted-suicide group, she chose death rather than life with a cancer diagnosis. Politics is downstream from culture, as Andrew Breitbart never tired of saying, and the assisted suicide group capitalizing on Maynard’s suicide is working on the culture, knowing that the political effects will become manifest soon enough.
The time was perfect for the recent two-day East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide, held in Connecticut. I was one of a hundred and forty people at Saturday’s general session. Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Peter Wolfgang of the Family Institute of Connecticut emceed the event that brought together disability rights activists, health care providers, longtime assisted-suicide opponents, and just plain folks who have been jarred into action either by local legislation or by the spectacle of Maynard’s death.
The next few posts on this blog are inspired by the people I met and listened to at the Conference. Their words are too valuable and timely to be tucked away on a few scraps of note paper in my files. I hope these people will leave you, as they left me, with the determination and encouragement to speak up for life effectively.