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Big Death’s New Choir

People are pushing back against assisted suicide, so Big Death goes after new converts
March 21st, 2024

March 21, 2024

By Jim Towey

Those seeking to legalize assisted suicide in America have met some stiff resistance. Legislatures in Virginia and Maryland recently blocked such legislation and many more are expected to follow suit.

What once seemed like a glide path toward societal acceptance has hit the rocky road of reality.  People with disabilities and advocates for the homeless and those with cognitive decline or other mental health challenges, have successfully pushed back.

These groups understand that the right to die is a right the poor, mentally ill and disabled will get.  They won’t get access to services such as companion care, housing, and counseling in the world that assisted-suicide activists seek to create. They will get the state’s help to end their lives.

Big bucks fund Big Death

Compassion & Choices, which used to be the Hemlock Society before an image makeover and name change, realizes that a backlash to its vision for end-of-life is underway, and is now targeting new groups for support.  C&C has received massive funding from George Soros (over $7 million since 2008), who once proudly touted that his mother was a member of the Hemlock Society.  He has also been a mega-donor to Death with Dignity and other pro-assisted suicide initiatives.

When C&C announced a partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association last year, the public outcry from their members was so great that they had to immediately dissolve it.  That initiative had targeted African-American, Latino, Asian American, and others who historically have rejected assisted suicide as an option at life’s end.

Of the more than 2,800 assisted suicide deaths in Oregon since it was legalized, only four have been of African-Americans.  Thus the campaign in minority communities whose members are understandably concerned that denial of costly Medicare and Medicaid services may be behind the push to the exits.

Death Choir

This explains why Compassion & Choices asked (and paid?) members of the Harlem Gospel Choir to tape a song a few years back called “This is YOUR Show.”  Nothing like jacking a popular, honored messenger to shill an unpopular cause!  The cringe-worthy TV ads of Travis Kelse (Kansas City Chiefs football-hunk-Swiftie star) pitching Covid jabs comes to mind.  That didn’t work out (the jab ads), and I don’t think this ploy will, either.

The lyrics are Broadway-styled deception at its finest: “You’re gonna’ take control…And when you take your bow you’re gonna’ sing out loud, ‘THIS IS MY LIFE’…This is your show.  Before the curtains close, before the lights go low…Finish strong!  Finish fearless!  Finish proud!  Cause it’s my choice!  THIS IS MY LIFE.”

I see, so suicide is triumphant now.  Since when has that been the case?  Why do we have a suicide hotline that talks people out of ending life if we now believe that it is a strong, proud, fearless finish?

There is a reason that Harvard-educated pastor Eugene Rivers, one of Boston’s most credible and reputable African-American church leaders, referred to it as “ back-end eugenics.”  Study after study shows the unpopularity of assisted suicide in minority communities.

But note how Compassion & Choices campaigns take the arguments of the opposition and use them against it.  A person with quadriplegia, for example, already has to fight for life.  He or she should not be pressured by the “your life isn’t worth living, so end it” subliminal messaging of the autonomy-with-no-limits folks. 

Legalized killing system

Having in place a system of legalized killing that might pressure the lonely, poor and disabled to despair and choose suicide, isn’t just a concern to minority communities.  Perhaps that is why the number of states in the U.S. where assisted suicide is legal is stuck at 10.  The public is having second thoughts.

Just as the Alzheimer’s Association reversed course, I expect the American Society on Aging to follow suit soon.  Its recently announced joint effort with C&C targeting those that have advanced dementia is upsetting folks.  As the world has witnessed in Canada, the slippery slope of assisted suicide extends far beyond the terminally ill who are close to death.

How many people who despaired of life, seriously contemplated suicide but went on to live fruitful lives were glad not to have acted on impulse?  All of them.

PR campaigns that try to rebrand suicide and intentional killing as hopeful and triumphant interventions, and target groups who oppose their fatalistic schemes, aren’t the solution.  Better end-of-life care, pain management, and access to hospice, and more mental health counseling and patient accompaniment are.

And that’s the name of that tune!

(The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Aging with Dignity and/or its Board of Directors.)


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