Not Dead Yet

Source: Not Dead Yet

By Stephen Drake

Since Not Dead Yet started, we’ve seen that the proponents of assisted suicide consist of what we call the “4 W’s” – the white, well-off, worried worried well. That hasn’t changed.

Last week, columnist Debra J. Saunders discussed the role that class, income and race play out in the debate in that state over legalization of assisted suicide. Here are a couple of excerpts from her excellent column, “Assisted suicide: help the rich to not get too much care“:

The assisted-suicide movement is the rare self-proclaimed civil rights movement that exists to cater to the wishes of affluent Americans. Tuesday, the state Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SB128, a bill to legalize assisted suicide in California. (Proponents don’t like the word suicide, so they call the measure the “End of Life Option Act.”) Supporters talked of their fear of medical personnel prolonging their lives, of pain and lack of autonomy; opponents fear that the bill’s passage would represent a callous act of cultural abandonment of the sick and disabled.

And then there’s the issue of race:

California has world-class medical care. This bill seeks to address a “First World problem,” noted Tim Rosales from the opposition. Rosales steered me toward Ken Barnes, a San Diego management consultant who used to be on the executive committee of the California conference of the NAACP. Barnes handily summed up SB128 supporters: They tend to be white, educated, affluent and able to navigate the health system. While they think they are “progressive,” they are as oblivious to the downside for “people of color and people who don’t know how to advocate for themselves.” They’re like white guys who don’t understand why black men are leery of police.

I want to reinforce this point. A Pew Poll published in November, 2013 reported that only 29% of Blacks polled and 32% of Hispanics polled supported legislation that would legalize assisted suicide.

The issues of race, class and privilege don’t get aired nearly often enough in this debate.

Please go to the original column and read it in its entirety – it’s truly excellent and deserves all attention it can get.