Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Me Before You has become one of the controversial films of the decade, with protests, boycotts and many articles about the film. Not Dead Yet organized protests outside movie theaters, EPC asked its supporters to boycott the film in order to not give the makers of this movie our hard earned cash, nonetheless, the clearest voices have been disability leaders.
“After a new injury, people are very vulnerable, because suddenly you become part of a marginalized group,” And in terms of the film, “Only a disabled character could have their suicide presented as noble. Imagine if another character in the movie had killed themselves based on their own internalized depression.”
“People happily cry over people like me killing ourselves,”
“Where are the films where he changes his mind and they live happily ever after?”
The disability community is really worried about what this is going to say to a newly disabled person. No one is disputing how vulnerable it can be to go from being able to move physically and suddenly being disabled. It is a huge transition, and that is why a lot of rehabilitation centers look for anxiety and depression, because those things need to be treated. If a person is non-disabled and they are suicidal, we do everything in our power to give them a reason to want to live. Why are we not seeing the same level of care and concern for disabled people? Why is it just accepted without question that disabled people should be allowed to kill themselves, and why is there this default belief that disability = suffering? We deserve just as much right to suicide prevention as any other person.
When I was 19 years old because of years of systemic abuse and oppression which I endured from my family, my school, and my community as a disabled person, and as an LGBT person, I tried to kill myself. I am so grateful today that I did not make it through the process. I hear this over and over from my disabled friends who have tried to kill themselves. Many of us become depressed because of how we are treated by society, especially when it is our families, and other loved ones. That depression needs to be treated, and disabled people are not receiving that kind of care.
comments by Ella Frech, really hit home. Frech, who will soon be 12-years-old and is a wheel chair athlete, wrote an article for Aleteia.org:
Well, what’s wrong with a life that looks like mine?
My mom says this isn’t the first movie where a handicapped person had to die for being paralyzed. There was one called Million Dollar Baby where a woman is a quad and bravely chooses death instead of an imperfect life.
So I’m asking you again, what’s wrong with my life? Why do you think I should want to die?
You sit there with your able bodies, and look at people in chairs and think you feel pity for our sad little lives, but the truth is you’re afraid. You don’t want to imagine that you might be one of us one day. You think you can be perfect, and think you’d rather die than have parts that don’t work right. I think that’s sad.
Crippled Scholar has published a list of commentaries by the disability community concerning Me Before You.
Legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide creates a cultural paradigm - whereby some people are deemed worthy of life and others are deemed unworthy.