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marchers in Boston hold ND banner. Click for larger image..
Photo by Tom Olin.

IN MAJOR SHIFT, suicide groups acknowledge activists. Laura Hershey reports for cando.com.

Not Dead Yet founders Coleman and Drake profiled at cando.com

Read more about Not Dead Yet from our archives

Visit Not Dead Yet's website

Report from AccessLife.com

ANALYSIS: John B. Kelly on Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet: background

Wheelchair users' protest tactics result in arrests by Thomas Grillo (The Boston Globe, 9/4/2000)
Assisted suicide foes arrested at protest by Tom Farmer (Boston Herald 9/4/2000)
Protest targets assisted suicide by Marie Szaniszlo (The Boston Herald 9/3/2000)
Crowd protests euthanasia meeting by Raphael Lewis (The Boston Globe, 9/3/2000)

Hear audio broadcasts from the Boston action at Not Dead Yet Radio from Uppity-Disability.net.

Talking Points Against California's AB 1592 "Death with Dignity Act" gives a good overview of why the disability rights movement is against legalizing assisted suicide.

Disability Activists Call Upon Euthanasia Movement To "Be Honest for a Change"

On August 30th, the Boston Herald gave Faye Girsh, the Executive Director of the Hemlock Society, a chance to talk about how Not Dead Yet, one of sixteen national and local disability rights groups sponsoring a rally against them this week, has "distorted the right to die agenda to make people think the movement wants to encourage the elderly and disabled to take their own lives." Without contacting the group Ms. Girsh attacked, the Herald printed her factually incorrect explanation of the "assisted dying" movement.

"The Hemlock Society has long included the euthanasia of people with non-terminal disabilities in its political agenda," says Not Dead Yet. They offer the following examples:

  • In the mid-1980's, Richard Scott, a Hemlock co-founder, and psychologist Faye Girsh, brought and pursued a "right to die" court case on behalf of a 26-year-old woman with cerebral palsy in California, Elizabeth Bouvia, who asked for help to starve to death after a miscarriage and marriage break-up.

  • The Hemlock Society provided over $20,000 to Jack Kevorkian's legal defense fund, and supported him throughout his trial. Over two-thirds of his victims over the last decade were people with non-terminal conditions, mostly disabled women facing crushing social and economic pressures.

  • The Hemlock Society has provided for the legal defense of George Delury, who murdered his wife with multiple sclerosis, and Ms. Girsh has expressed support for Robert Latimer, who murdered his 12-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy.

  • Hemlock Society lawyers are drafters of the Harvard Model Statute for legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia, for which people with either terminal or incurable conditions would be eligible, as under the proposed statute in New Hampshire.

  • The Hemlock Society also advocates for the legalization of non-voluntary euthanasia. They want families to be able to request and obtain the euthanasia of incompetent relatives whose lives "are too burdensome to continue."

    "Disability activists are tired of the false rhetoric of compassion that rolls off the tongues of the socially elite Hemlock members," says Not Dead yet. "The sweeping changes in public policy that they seek affect everyone. Medical killing is the most cost-effective way to "treat" expensive health conditions. But what does it matter to them if HMO doctors are paid financial incentives to deny needed medical treatment? You won't see them picketing for universal health care or expanded home and community-based services."


    Hemlock members "elite," say authors
    Hosting the event is the Hemlock Society. Household income of Hemlock Society members, in the $60,000-or-higher range, is "two times greater than that of the general population. (41.9 percent versus 20 percent)," say authors Elaine Fox, Jeffrey K. Mamakahi and Stella M. Capek in Come Lovely and Soothing Death : The Right to Die Movement in the United States. "In terms of educational status, three times as many Hemlock members had attained at least a baccalaureate degree than would be predicted by the general population figures," they wrote. "Also, most of the members were retired, and two-thirds owned their own homes."

    "In general, we could say that Hemlock Society members are relatively privileged members of society," they continued, "culturally different from the general population."

    Not Dead Yet's opponents get coverage in Boston Media:

    Read Right-to-die group says foes distort position, by Michael Lasalandra in The Boston Herald, 8/30/2000

    Read Assisted-death meeting stirs debate, concerns By Anne Barnard, The Boston Globe, 9/2/2000

    Hear audio broadcasts from the Boston action at Not Dead Yet Radio from Uppity-Disability.net.



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