Two People, Two Deadly Diseases, Two Opponents United Against Assisted Suicide

A perspective from individuals with AIDS and Lou Gehrig's Disease

May 14, 2007, 01:00 ET from Californians Against Assisted Suicide

    SACRAMENTO, May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The statements of two people with
 different deadly diseases that stand united against assisted suicide and AB
     Walter Park, San Francisco: I strongly oppose assisted suicide
 legislation in California, including this year's AB 374.
     As a person with AIDS first diagnosed 22 years ago, and told by my
 doctor twelve years ago that I had "one year" to live, this is an issue of
 utmost importance to me personally.
     I already feel the unspoken pressure not to "burden" my family with the
 costs of end of life care. I don't want to see the authority of law tipping
 the balance of physicians' and medical professionals' advice in the wrong
 direction by giving the medical corporations they work for a further
 incentive to save money this way. The so-called protections in this
 legislation are completely inadequate.
     I believe that, as individuals, medical professionals have only the
 best intentions. But while assisted suicide may increase physicians'
 choices, the subtle economic pressures of our current system, multiplied by
 thousands of cases will without a doubt result in restrictions on choice
 for people with disabilities.
     Barry and Mary McEhlone, Running Springs [Barry communicates verbally,
 his wife Mary assisted in the physical writing of this statement]: Barry
 was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, also know as Lou
 Gehrig's disease, December 5th, 2001. ALS is a motor neuron disease, where
 the nerves don't connect to the muscles, so the muscles waste away and the
 person becomes completely dependent. However the mind continues to be sharp
 and the facial muscles are not usually affected.
     Unfortunately along with the diagnosis of a terminal illness often
 comes feelings of depression and extreme vulnerability.
     Regarding terminal illnesses, we all know someone who has beaten the
 odds. Barry was originally given three to five years and he is now on his
     People who have ALS who will succumb to this choice will not be people
 who will die in six months, most live much longer. These people will choose
 this out of fear, fear of being completely dependent and unable to move.

SOURCE Californians Against Assisted Suicide