Monday, May 25, 2009

Killing Me Quietly with Legal Drugs

A story about the state of Washington's first legal "assisted suicide" circulated last week on the news wires. Here it is as reported in The New York Times. What surprises me is there has been relatively little discussion among disability activist networks that I monitor.

In the Times story, there were notes relevant to those working on disability issues.
Some critics fear that physician-assisted suicide will pressure people with terminal illnesses who have low incomes or are disabled to end their lives to avoid becoming a financial burden to loved ones. Supporters cite studies that they say have refuted that idea.

Ms. Fleming, who was divorced, filed for bankruptcy in 2007 with $5,800 in credit card debt, according to court records and a lawyer who had represented her, Hugh Haffner.

Of course, I'm not so hard-bitten that I can envision a circumstance where someone with terminal cancer might want to take an lethal dose of narcotics. On the other hand, the so-called "health care crisis" has many progressives touting the benefits of managed care -- which can be an euphemism for rationed care, which in turn means the so-called right-to-die becomes the duty-to-die.

People with disabilities were long shunted aside -- shut-in, made invalid -- and we have only stepped out into society as a group after people like Ed Roberts opened the door.

Now that we are here, we should not be the first asked to leave.

1 comment:

Rose City Reader said...

Gary -- thank you for speaking up about this. Your point is so important. The whole assisted suicide thing gives me chills because I do not think it is possible to safeguard against the pressures faced by people in the position to contemplate the option.