For the third consecutive year, a bill that would allow terminally ill patients to commit suicide with the help of a physician failed to make it out of the state’s Judiciary Committee.
Equating assisted suicide with the “civil rights movement,” Tim Appleton, state director of Compassion & Choices, a pro-assisted suicide group, said the struggle to gain approval for the cause could take years.
“Gay marriage took many years to gain approval in Connecticut, and today the majority of people cannot imagine a time when marriage equality was not fully accepted here,” Appleton said, according to CT News Junkie. “We believe that, like gay marriage and other issues of personal choice, aid-in-dying will continue to gain support.”
However, as National Catholic Register reports, the coordinated effort to defeat the measure again was the work of both the pro-life community and activists supporting the elderly and disabled. Effective testimony, letter-writing campaigns, press conferences, and petitions all contributed to the success of framing assisted suicide as a policy that would have serious consequences for the vulnerable elderly and sick.
Opponents of legalized assisted suicide consistently raised the theme that the “right to die” could ultimately be interpreted as an “obligation to die” for the weak and vulnerable, who could be viewed by some as a burden.
“The more people understand the meaning and the specifics of legislation regarding assisted suicide, the more they dislike it,” said Michael Culhane, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference.
Similarly, Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, observed, “We successfully stopped it at the earliest stage. We’ve fought them three years in a row. Contrary to their claims of momentum, Compassion & Choices has been losing ground here.”
Wolfgang added the pro-assisted suicide group requested the bill be pulled.
“They’ve really stepped up the pressure for assisted suicide ever since the Brittany Maynard campaign,” said Wolfgang, citing the suicide of the 29-year-old California woman with terminal brain cancer. Maynard had moved to Oregon last year to take advantage of that state’s legal assisted suicide law.