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Aid-In-Dying Display To Go Back Up For A Week

by Christine Stuart | Mar 19, 2014 12:51pm
(6) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Health Care, State Capitol

Hugh McQuaid file photo

Some of the portraits in the display

A photo display of aid-in-dying supporters that was taken down last month after complaints from House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero will be going back up Thursday morning.

Unbeknownst to Compassion & Choices, the organization that put up the display in the concourse between the Legislative Office Building and the state Capitol, the ACLU took up their cause with the Office of Legislative Management.

In a letter to Legislative Management, ACLU Attorney David McGuire said he was concerned the display came down “because of objections to the viewpoint” expressed in the advertising.

“The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits such viewpoint discrimination regardless of whether the area in question is a limited public forum, as we believe it to be, or a nonpublic forum,” McGuire wrote.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Cafero said that in his 22 years as a lawmaker he’s never seen a display in the concourse that advocated for an issue pending before the legislature. He said he happens to be against the aid-in-dying legislation, but said even if it was an issue he supported he would have complained. He said it’s not appropriate to advocate for or against something on state property.

He said the standard that it can’t be offensive to a school-aged children needs to be reviewed.

Jim Tracy, executive director of the Office of Legislative Management, informed Tim Appleton, campaign manager for Compassion & Choices, on Tuesday evening that the display would be going back up.

Appleton said he was disappointed when it came down a week early, but was pleased to see that it was going back up.

“Every one of these individuals had the courage to commit their names, faces, and their words to this photo display, we met every requirement for hanging it, and we were stunned when it was taken down,” Appleton said. “Re-installing the display is the right thing to do, and we encourage the public and decision-makers to see for themselves why this diverse group supports death with dignity legislation.”

Appleton acknowledged that it’s an emotional issue.

On Monday, the Public Health Committee held a day-long public hearing on a bill that gives doctors permission to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a mentally-competent, terminally ill individual. Opponents of the legislation worry that it may lead to abuse of the elderly and disabled.

“Surveys reveal that many Dutch doctors now consider having a long-term disability with a ‘poor prognosis’ for improvement as justification for writing a lethal prescription,” James McGaughey, executive director of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities, said. “Those examples are real and somewhat frightening for those of us who advocate for people with disabilities.”

The display will go back up Thursday and is scheduled to come down March 26. Last month, the display was taken down a week earlier than expected.

The Public Health Committee has until March 28 to decide whether to forward the bill to the House or another committee.

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(6) Comments

posted by: JamesBronsdon | March 19, 2014  2:42pm

The anti-gun control advocates should hasten to take advantage of OLM’s new policy.

posted by: GBear423 | March 20, 2014  6:27am

GBear423

oh you mean the Bill of Rights advocates?  Perhaps posters of the first 10 Amendments could replace the ones promoting yet another State endorsed break in the Hippocratic Oath.

posted by: Stephen Mendelsohn | March 20, 2014  8:25am

The integrity of the concourse is at stake.  If we allow Compassion and Choices to use the space as a paid ad for HB 5326, than every other organization with and agenda will have the same right.  We at Second Thoughts Connecticut have been considering demanding equal time, but have been reluctant to do so for this reason.

I continue to find the Compassion and Choices display, selling suicide messages where children on school tours can see them, breathtakingly irresponsible—regardless of whether they may have a First Amendement right to do so.  Mercilessly bullied autistic and LGBT teenagers will see the message that “my death” is “my choice” and that death by suicide is the answer to suffering.  Rights come with responsibilities; Compassion and Choices is failing in its responsibility to others, especially vulnerable young people, when they promote their motto, “MY Life. MY Death. MY Choice.” Because for them, its all about me, myself, and I.  Tim Appleton’s remarks above reveal their selfishness.

We should reject Compassion and Choices and HB 5326, which have far more in common with the selfishness of Ayn Rand than with the dream of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We Shall Overcome!

posted by: JamesBronsdon | March 20, 2014  9:34am

GBear, yes, that’s exactly who I mean. They should press their case now and see whether the door swings both ways. I suspect not.
Stephen Mendelsohn, very well said. Purportedly our Attorney General, who I do believe is usually a thoughtful individual, stated that Connecticut has no compelling interest in preventing terminally ill patients from choosing to end their live. But that’s not really the point, is it? The point is, Connecticut should not be in the business of undermining the integrity of the medical profession, and should be in the business of promoting the dignity of human life. Promoting assisted suicide by enacting laws to permit and therefore morally endorsing it, is exactly the opposite.

posted by: lkulmann | March 21, 2014  11:09am

As a nurse licensed in the State of CT I have two opinions on this matter. I think the medical profession has this one worked out for the most part…end of life care, hospice and so on… I’ve had to say this once in practice and I’ll say it again…I don’t euthanize my patients…most of us are incapable of intentionally causing death. I would be surprised if a doctor would write a prescription for a lethal dose of meds and I’d be shocked if a pharmacist would fill the prescription. I know the State would gladly pay for it…thats a given…this is tricky… If someone wants to die in a sudden suicide-type death with dignity, they know what to do and I’d guess they most likey have the means to do it as well if they’re terminally ill. I totally agree with comfort care and no pain and etc…but this is MD-PT only conversation.

posted by: Stephen Mendelsohn | March 24, 2014  7:02pm

I was in the concourse today, and most interestingly, there were tables from other organizations in front of the Compassion and Choices display.  One of them was a suicide prevention group aimed at college students, the Jordan Matthew Porco Memorial Foundation: http://www.rememberingjordan.org/  I let them know about the irony of their table being in front of pro-suicide messages claiming that “my death” is “my choice.”  Suicide prevention organizations need to stand up and denounce Compassion and Choices for suicide promotion.