‘How about the right to cry for help?’

Declaring the judgement to allow assisted suicide/ euthanasia as discrimination against people with disabilities, activist Amy E. Hasbrouckis chair of Not Dead Yet, an international organization of  people with disabilities who oppose the legalization of euthanasia and assisted  suicide, writes,

The long and the short of the reasons for judgment issued by Justice Lynn  Smith [of the British Columbia Supreme Court] is that legal provisions in Canada prohibiting assisted suicide law are  unconstitutional because they impede disabled people’s rights to life, liberty  and security of the person.

The judge believes that having a disability or degenerative illness is a  rational reason to want to die, and that those of us with disabilities should be  helped to die if we can’t do it neatly or efficiently ourselves.

Justice Smith doesn’t appear to believe that people with disabilities and  terminal illness are ever coerced, persuaded, bullied, tricked or otherwise  induced to end our lives prematurely. She believes those researchers who contend  there have been no problems in jurisdictions where assisted suicide is legal,  and she rejects evidence suggesting there have been problems. . . . .

Justice Smith assumes that, because it’s no longer illegal, suicide is  somehow an affirmative right; and if you can’t do it the way you want to do it,  then you should have the right to have someone do it for you.

But she forgot about the “right to fail;” that more than 90 per cent of  suicide attempts are unsuccessful. What about the right to “cry for help?”

The judge also seems to have forgotten about the billions of dollars spent  each year on suicide-prevention programs and mental-health care.

Nor does she mention that a non-disabled person who says he wants to kill  himself can be committed to a psychiatric hospital against his will.

To put it simply, if a non-disabled person wants to commit suicide, she’s  considered irrational and mentally ill, and is treated for depression, or maybe  even locked up to prevent her from hurting herself.

But if a disabled person wants to kill herself, she’s told she’s making a  reasonable choice, and not only has the right to do so, but is even helped to  complete the act so her death is guaranteed where most other suicide attempts  fail.

That sounds like discrimination to me.

Do you agree? What does it sound like to you?

Read more: How about the right to cry for help?

See also, Assisted dying UK  and  Euthanasia: a creeping corrosion.


‘How about the right to cry for help?’ — 3 Comments

  1. Dear John,
    Here are some facts so that you are aware of THE SUPPORT for assisted dying in the disability community.
    “If I believe in the human right to a dignified and peaceful life that is driven by autonomy and choice, then I must vote for the rights of South Australians to a peaceful and self-driven dignified death.” Kelly Vincent, making her caring, thoughtful, inspired and inspiring speech prior to voting IN SUPPORT of the CONSENT TO MEDICAL TREATMENT AND PALLIATIVE CARE (END OF LIFE ARRANGEMENTS) AMENDMENT BILL, 24.11.2010. (Ref SA Hansard)
    Kelly Vincent is the Dignity for Disability Party’s representative in South Australian Parliament. She was elected to the Legislative Council in 2010 in an event that made history.
    She is the first Australian politician to permanently use a wheelchair for mobility, the youngest woman currently sitting in an Australian parliament and the first Australian to be elected on the platform of disability rights.
    Kelly is passionate about the rights and needs of people with disabilities, and is also a keen human rights advocate. http://www.kellyvincentmlc.com/
    Ref: http://hansard.parliament.sa.gov.au/docloader/Legislative%20Council/2010_11_24/Daily/Legislative%20Council_C_Daily_DIST_2010_11_24_v17.pdf#xml=http://hansardsearch.parliament.sa.gov.au/isysquery/873231f4-12e7-4af2-841e-ba449f0bf05f/2/hilite/ page 133

    “Four-fifths seek legalisation of euthanasia for the terminally ill, reveals a poll that suggests a big change in British attitudes
    One of the final barriers to legalising euthanasia in Britain was shattered last night as it emerged that four-fifths of disabled people want the law changed so they can be helped to die if they become terminally ill.”
    Reference: The Observer, UK Dec. 5, 2004
    Jamie Doward and Jo Revill observer.guardian.co.uk ReligionNewsBlog.com • Tuesday December 7, 2004

    Ian Wood
    National Coordinator
    Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia
    Mittagong NSW

  2. Sorry Ian Wood, I cannot believe any Christian would support the taking of the life of another and suggest you have a re-think about your personal values as one who believes in Christ.
    Tasmania – as you may be aware – is an economic basket case. People are dying on the hospital waiting lists and now the Labor/Green Government is attempting yet again bring in euthanasia. Put simply what a way to reduce hospital waiting lists and save money. Now that may be a simplistic approach but so are your comments above – and using 8 yr old data. But one thing in this whole debate is highlighted – we’re debating and discussing this from a position of wellness not from being terminally ill or disabled. Not sure how disabled people can make informed decisions to answer a poll on this issue either.

  3. Dear Liam, my personal values and those of many other Christians who also support assisted dying are based on compassion for those with a terminal or hopeless illness and suffering that cannot be relieved, even with the best palliative care.

    I note that a group, Ad-Hoc Coalition for Persons With Disabilities gave evidence at the recent Canadian Court case. Its members are people with disabilities who support the freedom to choose assistance with dying.
    Ref http://farewellfoundation.ca/wordpress/?p=287

    Please read the editorial and other information on this site that details other compassionate Christian support for assisted dying from the Uniting Church of Canada. http://www.ucobserver.org/features/2012/07/case_compassion/

    Evidence from Belgium and Oregon, USA, where assisted dying has been legally available for over 10 years, shows that a majority of people who request and are accepted for an assisted death actually live LONGER and have a better end-quality-of-life than those who do not request assistance. It provides peace of mind.

    Many members of my group have observed or been part of horrific end of life suffering and that is why they want the legal choice for an assisted death if they are faced with a similar situation.

    “Voluntary euthanasia is not a choice between life and death: it is a choice between different ways of dying.” Jacques Pohier, former Catholic Dominican priest.

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