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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Nothing About Us without Us: NJ Senate Deliberately Excludes Disability Community from Debate on Assisted Suicide Bill

Earlier this week, the New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee held a hearing on the state’s proposed assisted suicide bill (S382). Even though the disability community submitted a formal request for inclusion in the hearing, our request was rejected and nobody from the disability community was invited to serve as a witness.

NCIL is extremely alarmed by this deliberate exclusion of people with disabilities, and we stand with every other major disability rights organization in strongly opposing assisted suicide legislation. The disability rights community has been a vocal opponent of New Jersey’s assisted suicide bill, with disability groups – including CILs and the NJ SILC – comprising over half of the organizations who oppose the bill. And the reason for this is clear: people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to abuse under these laws.

Assisted suicide laws don’t benefit anyone – rather, they reinforce stereotypes about whose lives are worth living. We need to continue to remind legislators to stop devaluing the lives of people with disabilities – equal rights include equal suicide prevention and access to support, not laws that make it easier to end our lives!

The Committee in NJ was not willing to hear our concerns, but we cannot afford to be dismissed from these conversations. Nothing about us without us!

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