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Californians Against Assisted Suicide: Assisted Suicide 'Study' From Biased Author is Questionable at Best

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by Californians Against Assisted Suicide:

A new "study" released Wednesday by Death with Dignity National Center (an assisted suicide advocacy group) board member Margaret Peggy Battin, attempts to show that many vulnerable groups are not "disproportionately" impacted by assisted suicide legalization in Oregon and the Netherlands. However, given Battin's twenty-year plus record pro-assisted suicide advocacy casts a serious shadow over any of her "study's" conclusions.

Battin's advocacy in support of assisted suicide is chronicled extensively in the book Deadly Compassion (Wm. Morrow and Co., 1993, pp 148-152) authored by Rita Marker of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide:

Below is an excerpt from the book Deadly Compassion, (Rita Marker, New York: Wm. Morrow and Co., 1993, pp. 148-152.):

Among those who suggest that suicide advocacy may be a legitimate

counseling position has been philosopher Margaret Pabst Battin. A

speaker at many ethics conferences in the United States and

throughout the world and the author of numerous articles and books,

Battin has served as philosopher in residence at a Veterans

Administration medical center and travels around the country giving

ethics seminars for medical students. She has also spoken very

persuasively for more than ten years about the benefits of suicide.

In April 1981 she urged those attending meetings of the American

Association of Suicidology to consider making suicide advocacy a

component of suicide prevention programs. She said that such

advocacy would add a "new sensitivity" to the work of suicide

prevention. Her paper was reprinted in the January 1982 edition of

the Hemlock Quarterly.

Although she acknowledged that suicide prevention was praiseworthy,

Battin said that it "may very well not be humane" in some cases.

Openness to the possibility of supporting suicide would offer the

benefit of a more accepting, more reasonable, and more caring

atmosphere, she claimed.

She urged a "genuine interaction and exchange" between the two

different responses to the potential suicide. "After all, suicide

advocacy, like suicide prevention, is humanitarian at root. Each

has -- or should have -- the interest of individual human beings at

heart," she said.

At a Hemlock Society conference in 1985, Battin acknowledged that

dying "relatively early, relatively easily, in a way in which you

won't impose a burden on others" was a real possibility if euthanasia

was legalized ...

... Those least capable of withstanding the pressure to request

euthanasia or commit suicide would be people who have been the least

self-determining throughout their lives, Battin suggested. She noted

that particularly vulnerable would be a woman who has lived for her

family and has always been concerned about the needs and comfort of

others ...

... Two years later, in March 1987, an article in the Washington

Times described Battin as saying that suicide assistance might be

warranted for elderly people worried about the prospect of extreme

old age and lack of resources. [Joyce Price, "Pro-Suicide Activists

Call for Right to Assist," Washington Times, March 13, 1987.]

Californians Against Assisted Suicide (CAAS) was established to defeat legislation that would legalize "assisted suicide" in California. CAAS is a coalition of health care, disability rights, and grassroots advocacy organizations united in strong opposition to the legalization of "assisted suicide."

SOURCE Californians Against Assisted Suicide
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