SACRAMENTO, May 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The statements of two people with different deadly diseases that stand united against assisted suicide and AB 374. 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 sixth. 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