By Allen Tian
More than 20 activists for disability rights marched to the Secretary of State’s office to protest an aid-in-dying measure likely to end up on Colorado’s November ballot.
Holding signs that read: “Death does not cure anything,” “Give me liberty, Don’t give me death,” and “It’s not compassion, it’s contempt,” the protesters marched about 2.5 miles from the Atlantis Community Center to the Secretary of the State’s office. The march was led by a protester dressed as the ghost character from the movie, Scream.
The Colorado End-of-Life Options Act would allow mentally competent adult Colorado residents with a prognosis of six months or less to live to take life-ending drugs. Doctors would have to confirm the diagnosis and give such patients multiple opportunities to decline the drugs, which patients must self-administer.
Proponents of the measure last week delivered more than 160,000 signatures — well more than the number necessary to get on ballot — to the Secretary of State’s office. The office has 30 days to ensure that at least 98,492 signatures are valid.
Disability rights groups ADAPT and Not Dead Yet, which led the protest, say the measure is too broad, lacks adequate safeguards, and risks exploiting the vulnerabilities of the disabled in a state that already has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation.
Protester Carrie Lucas, holding a sign reading, “Not Dead Yet,” joined the group in her electric wheelchair. “They have really put our lives at risk, ”she told The Independent.
Lucas, who has progressive muscular dystrophy, says she is particularly concerned with the definition of “terminally ill” in the measure. She says it could conceivably include someone with her condition. While she would have to request the life-ending drugs, she says the measure underscores her belief that while suicide is discouraged for most Americans, the disabled are somehow encouraged to view it as an option.
“That’s discriminatory because we deserve equal protection under the law,” she said.
Photo by Allen Tian