Joni Eareckson Tada called the show to discuss Senate Bill 693 and its implications on the disabled and elderly. Gracie joined Joni for this interview and the two women shared their powerful testimonies of facing a combined 85+years of suffering and severe disabilities. They both struggled with wanting to end their lives when originally facing a lifetime of challenges. Intercepting those horrific feelings and difficulties, key friends and family spoke life to both young women (they were both 17-years-old when they had their accidents. ).
Joni expressed concern when she stated, “Our problem (Gracie’s and Joni’s) was not that our injuries were life-threatening. Our problem was depression. Discouragement."
Gracie asked of this bill and those who would implement it, “Are you going to provide them hope—or are you going to provide them drugs to slowly, stealthily euthanize them?”
Adding further, Joni stated, “The new language in this bill does not require hospice patients to be terminally ill to receive life-ending drugs—lethal doses of medication. And that is entirely new for our country. All of the rest of the physician assisted suicide bills across the United States require a person to be terminally ill. But here, in Senate bill 693, you don’t have to be terminally ill to receive a lethal dose of medication. You can just be disabled. You just be too old. You could be just too depressed. And this is what alarms those of us who work against elder abuse and [work in] disability advocacy. We want to clear up that language. We want to make certain this bill does not pass. Let’s get rid of the fraud and waste and abuse in the Medicare system and in the federal hospice program before we pour, ‘…good money after bad.’”
To contact Senators about this bill, click here to see the committee members.
Peter Rosenberger hosts a radio program for family caregivers broadcast weekly from Nashville, Tennessee, on more than 200 stations. He has served as a caregiver for his wife Gracie, who has lived with severe disabilities for more than 30 years. His new book is “7 Caregiver Landmines and How You Can Avoid Them.” Follow @hope4caregiver.