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Valar Qringaomis

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Euthanasia vs Disability Activists

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Guest Editor: Baroness Campbell

"Disability activists have been some of the most prominent opponents of efforts to change the law on assited suicide and the right to die... the disability rights campaigner Baroness Campbell wanted to take the issue up with the journalist Matthew Parris who angered many disabled people with a recent article that staunchly defended the right to die...

'Assisted dying is very much predicated on the fears and prejudices that people have about becoming incapacitated. It's still one of the major reasons given for wanting to die, being a burden, not being able to take yourself to the toilet. But for people who are very incapacitated, we can tell another story. That these are not the things that one should worry about. What people should worry about is whether or not society is responding to their needs. For people like me, the development of technology, the development of a society that is beginning to look at incapacity in a different way, i.e. fix the person, fix the problem, which is the world in which they live, and people then become very productive. A lot of the people I work with, when they become disabled, they want to end their lives. They are not productive, that they feel burdens...

This is a real example... a very talented doctor who had a rugby accident and afterwards he was totally incapacitated from the neck down. For a long time he wanted to end his life. And then he met some people one day, like me, who said well there is another way to live. He now says: thank god there was no assisted suicide, because I would be dead now...

I have people that say to me: I'd rather really be dead than like you. Now that's quite hard for me'...

'It's very hard when you're being interviewed by a charming and clever person who is sitting in a very expensive wheelchair with assisted breathing... paid for by the State... making the case as you are for unlimited help to be given to all disabled people and all elderly people... the slice [of healthcare spending] is going to get larger and larger as society gets older and older and there will come a point where the acute angle of the slice of the cake will begin to feel that they just can't shoulder the whole thing any longer and there just has to be a limit'...

'The people who get annoyed at, you know, Frankie [a comedian] going you can't make jokes about disability, that is actually more offensive than any joke any comedian has ever made ever, because it perceives all disabled people as weak and in need of defence. It's important to highlight issues and I think it all comes back to this idea of intention and whether it's coming from a place of comedy and you know, highlight the issue and see the funny side of things or it's coming from a place of schoolyard hatred. I think that's an important thing that comedians have to ask themselves before they make any joke...

[On the House of Lords] There's something powerful about not being able to get rid of us, because people do say what they think. And you might not agree with them... someone out there will think that as well. As cross-benchers we came through an appointments procedure. And it's tough. It's not like any job interview I've ever been through...

[On the cost of her wheelchair] My electric wheelchair costs less than a replacement hip. Now, my wheelchair gives me independence and allows me to contribute in my job. When Matthew Parris needs a hip replacement, which costs more, will he be asking himself the question: Am I too expensive?"


If people who have attempted suicide being thankful they didn't succeed is a reason to counter suicide, isn't people who would have chosen assisted suicide being glad they didn't a reason to be against assisted suicide?

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Why Disability Advocates Say No to Doctor-Assisted Death - "Disability-rights advocates, on the other hand, are concerned that there is a double standard. Suppose a good friend of yours says that she wants to kill herself. You, and most people others close to her, would probably try to help her so she did not feel that suicide was a viable option. Suicide prevention would be the goal of the medical profession, of family and friends. Not, however, in the case of someone seeking physician-assisted death. “The difference is your health or disability status. Then suddenly suicide is a rational decision,” Diane Coleman, president and CEO of Not Dead Yet, a disability-rights group that advocates against assisted suicide and euthanasia, told The Daily Beast. “We think equal rights should also mean equal rights to suicide prevention”... “A lot of people say this is not about people with disabilities, this is about terminal prognoses,” said Crane. “Yet the disability community is filled with people who have outlived a six-month prognosis for years”... “I’m motivated by basic social principles more than anything religious,” Byock said. “It is a fundamental principle that doctors should not kill”... Disability groups believe that much of what motivates people to access physician-assisted death is not pain, but fear of disability... Some data had previously shown that, after an adjustment period, many people with disabilities soon recovered their original sense of wellbeing... Disability advocates also worry about the risk of coercion. Not all families are loving families, and some might make clear to a relative that their presence is burdensome. Some might coerce in other ways. In fact, the Oregon law actually does not require a physician or other witnesses to be present when the lethal dose is administered.... “I feel like Billy Pilgrim in a dark Vonnegut novel where people are suffering,” he said. “Instead of talking about the roots of the suffering and addressing those in a robust way, we’re talking about expanding the scope of physicians’ practice to include the intentional ending of people’s lives.”"
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