Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Suicide Prevention - Not Dead Yet opposes assisted suicide

Diane Coleman
Diane Coleman, the founder of the disability rights group - Not Dead Yet, wrote a response to the letter by James Swanson. Swanson advocated that euthanasia or assisted suicide be legalized for people who he described as "Trapped Alive". Coleman's letter was published in the Calgary Herald today. She responded this way:

Re: "Trapped alive," Letter, Nov. 21. 

James G. Swanson's letter demonstrates the profound devaluation that too many feel toward those of us with severe physical disabilities. Swanson describes his father and a friend, disabled by an accident and ALS, respectively, as "trapped" and "condemned to a life in hell." Social messages that one is "better off dead than disabled" permeate society, including our families. 

Swanson's solution to the so-called problem of disability is assisted suicide. Like most, he hasn't noticed the difference between suicide and assisted suicide. Apparently, he doesn't think it matters if someone's family views their life as devoid of quality. There's no sign of concern that we might feel that our existence is a burden to those closest to us. The Council of Canadians with Disabilities rightly opposes assisted suicide. A society that not only agrees with a disabled person's suicide, but guarantees that our suicide attempt results in death, is not treating us as equals. We deserve the same suicide prevention as everybody else, not a streamlined path to death.

1 comment:

Daniel Pask said...

Yes, Diane, authentic rights are those guaranteeing the same level of protection as anyone else, not the "special right" to suicide.