Re: Future of Cryonics [was Re: I ask your views on Mike Darwin's posts] (fwd)

Chris Fedeli (
Sun, 03 Oct 1999 13:55:20 -0400

Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> This is another message that I sent to Chris, that may possibly of
> general interest to the group.

My reply to Robert follows.

Robert J. Bradbury wrote:

> Chris, you need to rethink this unless we get progress on the legal
> front. I was contacted by a person from Oregon a few days ago
> about my perspective on aging research. During the discussion
> I pointed out the problems that the illegality of pre-death
> cryonic suspensions drives up both our health care costs *and*
> effectively *kills* people.

Thanks for your comments.

Absolutely, legalizing pre-death cryonic suspension should be a high priority for us. If extropians ever care to get into the dirty business of politics this might be a starting point.

I've been following the situation in Oregon and the resulting congressional action with great interest. Congress' first attempt to override Oregon's death with dignity act failed, but they've revised the bill to accomodate the concerns of the AMA, who are backing the current attempt. The current legislation is already out of committee and looks like it may pass.

Recently I had suggested to cryonet that we try to lobby congress for a "cryonics exemption" to the bill that would outlaw assisted suicide nationally. I got responses from Saul Kent and Charles Platt, mostly indicating that they'd considered this before and still thought it was too much of a long shot.

In the future, such an effort might be successful if cryonicists and extropians made repeated contributions to a single congressman, with the explicit understanding that we expect a simple exemption from the ban on assisted suicide. We may be small and unable to deliver votes, but we're disproportionately well off. 40 individuals making the maximum contribution equals $40,000 for a congressional campaign - perhaps enough to buy their efforts on a small, insignificant rider bill that would draw the attention of only the most meticulous beltway policy wonks.

> Doing that requires a *significant* change in the legal environment.
> I suggested to the person I spoke with, that after she investigated it
> further, that Oregon might be an interesting place to put such
> an innovative idea on the ballot. They have a history of being
> very innovative in health care funding as well as things like
> "the right to die" [or suspend]. You probably want to do it
> after "The First Immortal" comes out as a movie.

Thats a great idea - A ballot initiative would be another way to accomplish the same thing, also requiring some money plus grass roots action. Oregonians for Death with Dignity might be willing to join our cause too, assisting with the manpower requirments for such a move.

Passing this kind of referendum would kick the ball back to congress, and they would then have to decide whether the bizzare wishes of 800 or so technophiles justifies more national legislation. Hell, the goverment has made bigger accomodations to the Amish then we'd be asking for, so I can't see it becoming a big deal.

You're right, of course, that we may want to wait a bit before we get into the fray on this issue. But there's no harm in discussing and planning our eventual political plays now.

I've also spoken with Kathryn Aegis about future political action for transhumanism (we're both in DC and working together to build a local group). Perhaps we could set a five or ten year goal to establish a seperate DC based institute to act as lobbying and politcal action arm for extropy/cryonics/transhumanism?

Ambitious, but potentially very valuable.