New Documentary Reveals Effects of Assisted Suicide Legalization on Those Who Want to Live


Compassion and Choice DENIED explores the effects efforts to legalize physician assisted suicide have on those who are living with terminal illness but who do not want “aid in dying.” The film features Stephanie, a wife and mother living with a terminal diagnosis. She has experienced first-hand the dangerous effects of California’s recent legalization of physician assisted suicide.

As she deals with insurance denials of treatment her doctor ordered and changes in the tone of conversations in various support groups, her story highlights the ways in which the difficulty of living with a terminal diagnosis is compounded by the growing cultural acceptance of the notion of assisted suicide. This negatively changes the ways in which people with terminal illnesses are thought of, and the ways in which they think about themselves.

But hers is also a story of hope. Her hope is that if we can change our way of thinking about the process of dying and those who are dying, we will be able to provide the resources people truly need to be supported and well cared for at the end of their lives.

Jennifer Lahl, Founder and President of the Center for Bioethics and Culture—and writer/director of this and the other films listed above—says, “Stephanie’s story calls us to a higher and more dignified understanding of the role of suffering in our lives. She challenges us to see the many unexpected benefits of living while battling a terminal illness and the value of life and one more day.”

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Program in Medical Ethics at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine says of the film: “Stephanie is courageously living out her last days with a terminal illness and showing us that every day is a gift. Her experiences clearly unmask the lie that doctor assisted suicide enhances patients’ autonomy and choice—clearly demonstrating that it is a form of abandonment rather than an act of compassion. Watch this film to understand the real forces behind doctor assisted suicide, and why we need to oppose it.”

One Comment

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  1. Stephanie is very brave… and her insight and fears are so valid. The excuse of ‘physician assisted death’ is not suicide ‘because people with a terminal illness will still die’ is a lame justification that opens a wide door for a legalisation of suicide. Everyone will die eventually so can anyone choose to die?! What about those who are terminally ill and suffering? All those who want to commit suicide are most often suffering, emotionally, socially and/or physically. Are we then going to legalise suicide on the basis of suffering and because of the fact that death is inevitable anyway? And what about the cases where a ‘death sentence’ was given of a terminal illness which actually turned out to be no terminal illness at all? In Malta the death penalty was stopped after an innocent person was sentenced to death. Should we introduce euthanasia and risk putting a person to death who would have otherwise lived a normal life? The insights about how people in general will view the value of life, how the determination of a terminal patient to live is effected and the impact on the medical services end of life care giving after such laws are passed are very valid ones.

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