Since some of us were out of state when the assisted suicide bill was finally defeated in the Vermont Senate, we have been reviewing articles published at the time. We liked Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg’s comment to the VT Digger article on the defeat. Cohen-Rottenberg, until very recently, maintained a blog called Journeys with Autism (www.autismandempathy.com). In her comment, copied in italics below, she takes Vermont Digger to task for failing to note in the article that people with disabilities, not just religious people and doctors, strongly oppose assisted suicide. Thank you Rachel! The whole article, with comments, can be read at http://vtdigger.org/2012/04/12/death-with-dignity-bill-falls-on-senate-floor/.
Your article fails to mention that it is not just medical organizations and religious people who are against the bill — many people with disabilities, and our organizations, have been against the bill from the beginning. The fact that the disability rights issues inherent in the bill never appear in the article, and that no mention is given of the opposition to the bill of groups like Disability Rights Vermont, is indicative of the problem with the bill itself: a failure to take our concerns seriously and discuss all of the implications of the bill for our lives. Our erasure from the discussion of the bill does not bode well for having our voices heard should such a bill ever become law.