Local opposition to Suicide Lobby attendance at Concord Senior Resource Fair.
February 20, 2014
TO: Ron Leone, Member Concord City Council
FROM: Camille Giglio
SUBJECT: Dis-inviting Compassion and Choices Org. appearance at Concord’s Senior Health Fair, Feb 28.
A political activist lobby for suicide entitled Compassion and Choices, has been extended an invitation to participate in a Concord Senior Center Health Fair this coming February 28.
This group, formerly registered as the Hemlock Society, is making a concerted effort in California to gain signatures supportive of its next attempt at passage of the use of “legal, lethal medications” to provide the means for individuals to successfully commit suicide. This phrase is taken from their Oregon website, compassionoforegon.org.
This group, of course, does not ever mention suicide. It prefers to use the phrase Death with Dignity or providing the patient with the means of realizing a peaceful, planned death surrounded by their loved ones.
Their California website, compassionandchoices.org has a section devoted to “Getting Involved.” and carries the following invitation:
Ways to Get Involved
We are also looking for volunteers to help staff booths at public events; get petitions signed and help get our 5 year campaign underway. If you are interested in joining the movement to make Aid in Dying accessible, open and legitimate in the state of CA we need to hear from you! Contact Marina Shuman at [email protected] to get involved.
There is nothing on their websites or in their publications about helping ill or elderly or disabled individuals to obtain more or better health care.
Compassion and Choices sponsored Physician Assisted Suicide legislation, AB 3000, 2008, in California. It was amended many times and heavily opposed by church, community and medical groups. It’s final passage eliminated the right to suicide, but left intact, the right of this group to distribute, to citizens who ask for it, a copy of their Death with Dignity form referred to as a POLST form – Physician Orders for Life-sustaining Treatment. It is a more advanced form of the old DNR – Do Not Resuscitate form. It mandates that the treating physician and other attendees to someone in need of health care attention, adhere to the mandates of the form, regarding palliative care only.
Palliative Care only means no curative or resuscitative measures, no food, no water. It also provides the organ donor proponents access to the patient’s family with requests that the patient be declared brain-dead and become an organ donor regardless of whether they have signed a form to prevent organ donation.
The statements on their web site and in articles states very clearly that they are a public advocacy and lobby organization. They are not a health care organization.
Also, within this current legislative session the Governor vetoed a bill that would have mandated that all long term care facilities and hospitals provide patients with this group’s POLST form, whether the patient asked for it, already had a sufficient advanced directive protecting their life (which would be negated by the POLST form) and requesting that all forms of proper medical care be provided.
Inviting this group with access to vulnerable senior citizens is tantamount to inviting a pedophile promoting organization to address a confirmation class of students.
Senior citizens, many of them who are without supportive family or who are in ill health or depressed due to their current status in life, are most vulnerable to being placed in a position of guilt and responsibility for draining the family savings for their own health upkeep.
Groups like Compassion and Choices, or Final Exit (a group that provide kits with plastic bags) which Compassion and Choices supports, for people to kill themselves, prey on people in the above stated vulnerable situations.
I can only believe that the elected officials of Concord would not want to be held responsible for having this kind of pressure visited on their valued senior residents. Consider the possible embarrassment to the city if some Baldwin Park Senior Center member, took to heart the advocacy of this group and attempted suicide?
Please consider dis-inviting this group and returning their $85.00 application fee.
Please also consider ways to assure that groups requesting attendance at your health fairs are vetted with closer attention to their qualifications for presentations at health fairs.
Please also, do not consider turning this into just another debating situation where two sides are invited to present their case. This demeans the whole understanding of respect and protection for human life. This is not an equal access to information, or some freedom of expression or speech issue.
This is life or death. The City of Concord has been put into a position of making the choice for life or death.
Please choose life.