Excellent research based article by Hanna Graham of the University of Tasmania in yesterday’s The Advocate newspaper. In part,
Many disability advocates oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide on the grounds that it has adverse implications for people with disabilities, whether or not they are eligible for it.
People who choose to live with symptoms and conditions that others call `intolerable suffering’ and `poor quality of life’ may find pro-euthanasia messages that some people are `better off dead’ and `some lives are not worth living’ offensive and stigmatising.
Acclaimed British paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson recently described assisted suicide as “a chilling prospect for disabled people” (The Times, 23/09/2013).
She argues that legalising it “reinforces prejudices for people with disabilities” and makes them “afraid of a law that would offer a lesser standard of protection to seriously ill people than to others.”
James McGaughey, Executive Director of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities in Connecticut agrees that disability advocates are “deeply concerned”, saying “the disability rights movement [is] punctuated with stories of individuals who “just wanted to die” before coming to realise they could still lead good, contributing lives.
Advocates worry that some people would never get to that realisation if assisted suicide becomes legal.”
Saying the proposed Tasmanian Voluntary Assisted Dying model is based on Oregon, Belgium and the Netherlands, while denying that the euthanasia of vulnerable people could happen here means proponents may be willing to downplay or ignore what is already happening elsewhere.
The risks of proceeding with the proposed model are not justified.
Complete article, Depression, disability and ‘safe’ euthanasia also the Researchers’ Report, A Response to Giddings & McKim’s euthanasia proposal.
I fully agree that to go down the road of voluntary euthanasia which is embedded in the law of the land would send an unnecessary and hurtful message to those who suffer dreadful pain or debilitating illness. It is all too easy for stressed relatives with added financial burdens to send messages that a person should consider taking their own lives- even though this may be against their personal convictions and beliefs. Vulnerable people of any age need protection from the law of the land giving them the right to life, their life, in what ever state that is in. An old saying comes to mind,” where there is life there is hope”- indeed life without hope is a desperate place to be. A euthanasia bill only adds to the burdens of people who are very ill. It could also give rise to unscrupulous practice in which ranks the need for medical attention against the need for euthanasia. Those who are already ill do not need to have to fight for the right of life- it should continue to be enshrined in the Hippocratic Oath and into our communities.