In 20 years of advocating for Death with Dignity laws, we’ve never seen anything like this in our movement: opponents taking money from a hate group in an attempt to stop Death with Dignity policy reform. Traditionally, our opponents receive money from Catholic institutions all over the country to restrict policy reform, but in Massachusetts, everything is different about the opponent’s fundraising.
In order to launch their “no” campaign, they accepted critical seed money from two anti-gay groups: the American Family Association and the American Principles Project. The American Family Association was named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for their extremist actions, “including publicizing companies that have pro-gay policies and organizing boycotts against them.” Over the years these two groups have focused their efforts on denying people basic human rights because of their own moral objections, but since their own morals don’t always mesh with the majority of Americans’ ethics, they know they can’t rely on that to push their agenda. So, they turn to lies.
And really off the wall lies like homosexuality led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and World War II, gays are to blame for the movie theater shootings in Colorado, and anti-bullying legislation is part of a “homosexual agenda” of some sort. Those first two are so crazy sounding they’re easy to dismiss, but the last one is more likely to truly kill kids. With bullies taking schoolyard taunts to the huge public forum of the Internet, bullying continues to grow as a major problem. In fact, right now, during anti-bullying month, the New York Times reported the American Family Association is actively trying to convince parents to force their kids to skip school on Mix It Up Day, an 11-year-old program intended to reduce bullying.
Opponents of Death with Dignity laws are continuously working to spread the myth that dying people who decide to take medication to shorten their suffering are committing suicide. But by accepting support from these fringe hate groups and thereby tacitly approving of their actions, these same opponents are saying any legislation or effort designed explicitly to stop teen suicides is a bad idea.
In the New York Times article one of the organizers of Mix it Up Day, Maureen Costello, was taken aback by the American Family Association’s actions stating, “I was surprised that they completely lied about what Mix It Up Day is. It was a cynical, fear-mongering tactic.”
Opponents of Death with Dignity in Massachusetts used this hate money to launch and seed their campaign, providing them with critical resources to build the infrastructure of a political campaign. After they were caught publicly with the money, they sent back a portion of it, but not all of it. And, the unanswered question is “why are these groups involved in the Death with Dignity issue at all?”
Here, at the Death with Dignity National Center, we’ve been supporting the grassroots effort in Massachusetts made up of patients, family members, and dedicated volunteers. They’ve worked hard for two years to put together an honest and compelling campaign to bring about reform in end-of-life care. Our movement is about compassion and dignity for people who are dying. Please help us keep hate out of end-of-life care policy reform, and give a donation to support our efforts today.
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