The partnership between the Alzheimer's Association and a pro-assisted-suicide group called Compassion & Choices is coming to an end, just two months after it was first announced.
Though Compassion & Choices has claimed it aims only to educate people about their end-of-life "options" and to ensure that individuals receive "the care they want — nothing more and nothing less," the organization has one clear goal: to expand the availability of assisted suicide. The group openly states on its website that it hopes that, within five years, "half the U.S. population will live in a location where medical aid in dying is an open and accessible medical practice." The phrase "medical aid in dying," made infamous by recent laws in Canada, is a euphemism for physician-assisted suicide.
In fact, the name Compassion & Choices is itself a euphemism. Decades ago, the group was called the Hemlock Society, but that name fell out of favor after one high-profile member, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, aka "Dr. Death," who reportedly assisted in more than 100 suicides, was convicted of second-degree murder. The Hemlock Society soon afterward rebranded as "Compassion & Choices," but continued the same mission to expand access to assisted suicide. In just three years, from 2017 to 2020, Compassion & Choices spent more than $2 million to lobby for that goal.
In late November, Compassion & Choices issued a press release to announce that it had joined forces with the Alzheimer's Association — an organization that has long denounced suicide as a tool to end the suffering of Alzheimer's and other dementia patients. Together, the two groups would work to "improve end-of-life care for those with dementia," especially those considered "historically marginalized," such as black people, Hispanics, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and those who identify as "LGBTQ."
Compassion & Choices issued a similar press release about a month later, though this second press release also contained a statement from Carl V. Hill, the Alzheimer's Association's chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer. As has become standard with those involved in "diversity, equity, and inclusion," Hill asserted that such marginalized communities "are disproportionately impacted" by Alzheimer's and other dementia conditions. He added that his organization was "excited to collaborate with Compassion & Choices" to reach a shared goal of "greater health equity."
That excitement was short-lived. Thanks to Alexander Raikin of the Washington Free Beacon, who drew national attention to the partnership in an exposé published on Friday, the Alzheimer's Association has decided to cut ties with Compassion & Choices after admitting that it did not conduct "due diligence" on the group.
"In an effort to provide information and resources about Alzheimer’s disease, the Alzheimer’s Association entered into an agreement to provide education and awareness information to Compassion & Choices, but failed to do appropriate due diligence," a statement from the Alzheimer's Association released on Sunday said.
"Their values are inconsistent with those of the Association," the statement continued. "We deeply regret our mistake, have begun the termination of the relationship, and apologize to all of the families we support who were hurt or disappointed. Additionally, we are reviewing our process for all agreements including those that are focused on the sharing of educational information."
The Alzheimer's Association also insisted in the statement that it "stands behind people living with Alzheimer’s, their care partners and their health care providers as they navigate treatment and care choices throughout the continuum of the disease." It reaffirmed that "a palliative care approach" remains a dementia patient's best option while research to eradicate the condition continues.
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