Second Thoughts Massachusetts is the state affiliate of Not Dead Yet, for which John Kelley has proudly volunteered/worked since 2000, when he attended my first Not Dead Yet action against a meeting of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies.
Not Dead Yet
Not Dead Yet began in 1985 with ” the case of Elizabeth Bouvia, a woman with cerebral palsy who had been through a miscarriage, marriage break up and other setbacks in her personal life, including the state rehabilitation agency taking back her accessible van and effectively blocking her plans to attend a master’s degree program. She had gone to a local hospital, asking to be allowed to starve herself to death while receiving comfort care and pain medication. The hospital refused to go along but admitted her.
She’d then contacted the Southern California ACLU, and they arranged for a Hemlock Society lawyer to take her so called “right to die” case.
I was asked to join in a disability rights picket at the ACLU’s LA office. As a card carrying member of the ACLU at the time, I was understandably shocked. Miscarriage, marriage break up – if Ms. Bouvia had been non-disabled, she would have gotten help to get through those setbacks. The discrimination was obvious to disability activists, but not to the ACLU, the media, or the general public…
In case after case, the courts painstakingly analyzed how the usual state interests in preserving life and preventing suicide did not apply to these men, while never once questioning their involuntary confinement in nursing facilities. In each case, the court found that their liberty rights included the liberty to die but apparently not the right to live free.”