KEW GARDENS, N.Y., April 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Physician-assisted suicide as practiced legally in California is unconstitutional and discriminatory, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to United Spinal Association, other disability organizations and individuals with disabilities who filed a Complaint against the State of California in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on April 26th.
Vincenzo Piscopo, President and CEO of United Spinal Association, said, “Many of our members are vulnerable to suicide and can be victimized by Physician-Assisted Suicide statutes, especially while they are adjusting to living with paralysis. They need long-term services and supports to live effectively in the community, and assistance in dealing with depression that often causes suicidal ideation at the onset of a traumatic disability.”
Piscopo continued, “We worry they may be provided with lethal medication. Proper supports, physical and mental health care, and access to employment, transportation, and housing alleviate depression and hopelessness. Assisted suicide laws make it far too simple for the system to fall short in meeting the needs of people with disabilities, and instead provide a cheap and easy way out.”
United Spinal Association General Counsel James Weisman said, “United Spinal has worked since World War II to make community living a reality for wheelchair users. The only difference between a depressed person who wants to kill themselves and a depressed person with a disability that wants to kill themselves is the disability. However, this distinction can mean the difference between life or death for the community we represent, whose quality of life is often underestimated by the medical community. People with disabilities should be diverted to suicide prevention programs, not provided the means to kill themselves.”
United Spinal Association and the other plaintiffs are represented by Michael Bien of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP, a San Francisco Bay Area law firm. United Spinal Association, founded in 1946 by paralyzed veterans, is run by and for people with disabilities. The vast majority of its 60,000 members use wheelchairs.
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SOURCE United Spinal Association