Sunday, May 12, 2024

Better off Dead? documentary to be aired on BBC1 on May 14.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Liz Carr
Liz Carr, who is an actress, comedian and disability rights activist, produced a documentary that she titled Better off Dead? that will be airing on BBC1 on Tuesday May 14 at 9 pm (UK). Carr may be best known for her role as Clarissa Mullery on the BBC series Silent Witness.

John Pring interviewed Carr for Disability News Service for an article that was published on May 9, 2024. Pring begins with Carr telling him how frighting the concept of legalizing assisted suicide is for people with disabilities, within the concept of the failing National Health Service (UK):
Legalising assisted suicide, she said, would be even more dangerous at a time when “we are absolutely removing our welfare state, and we are dismantling our incredible NHS”.

Last week, at a protest outside the Houses of Parliament, she told DNS she was terrified by the government’s latest proposals to cut spending on personal independence payment.

She said: “I don’t even think the other side will make the connection over how terrifying that feels to disabled people yet again.

“We know disabled people have killed themselves because of DWP reforms in the past.
Carr speaks about her experience with interviewing Amir Farsoud, a Canadian with disabilities who sought euthanasia based on fears of homelessness. Pring reports:
“That’s what terrifies me: the kind of thing happening in Canada where people for socio-economic reasons are choosing to end their lives through euthanasia.”

In Canada, she interviewed Amir Farsoud, a disabled man from Ontario, who requested an assisted suicide because his landlord was planning to sell off his apartment building, and he was terrified at the prospect of being left homeless on the freezing streets.

He eventually changed his mind about seeking an assisted suicide after a crowd-funding effort raised tens of thousands of dollars to support him.
Farsoud told Carr that it was easier and quicker in Canada to apply for medical assistance in dying (assisted suicide) than disability benefits.

Carr comments on Keir Starmer, the leader of Britains Labour party, who is pro-euthanasia and currently leading in the polls, if an election were to happen:
She said: “I’ve always been a little bit worried about Starmer getting in power, because he introduced the guidelines [on prosecuting cases of assisted suicide, in 2010] when he was director of public prosecutions.

“I’ve known he’s been pro, we all have, for over 10 years.”

She said this was “quite frightening” and “makes it difficult for voters like me to know what to do for the next election”.

Asked if she had a message for Starmer, she said: “I would say, please watch the documentary.
Carr, who is an athiest, said that people who are concerned about the legalization of assisted suicide shouldn't sideline the opposition because they are marginalized or religious because there are many people who are concerned about legalizing assisted suicide.

Pring then spoke to Carr about her meeting with Canadian euthanasia doctor Ellen Wiebe:
She also spoke of the “chilling” attitude of Canadian doctor Dr Ellen Wiebe – who is herself disabled – who has provided assisted suicide to hundreds of Canadians since it was legalised and is shown in the documentary telling Carr she was “so glad, so glad” that they had medical assistance in dying laws in Canada.

She told her: “I love my job. This is the very best work I have ever done.”

Wiebe is also shown saying that she had never had so many grateful patients, which Carr said was “one of the most terrifying things in the documentary”.

She said: “When she says that doctors like grateful patients, that is chilling to me.

“And as somebody that’s had a lot of involvement with, you know, medics, that really frightens me.”
Pring then reported on Carr's message at a preview event for the documentary:
“If we ask the question, ‘Do you want to stop dying people’s suffering?’ everybody has to say yes to that, or you’re a psychopath.

“We all, I believe, want everyone to have a good death, so the answer is how we do that.

“And the only difference between me and [those supporting legalisation] is how you do that. That’s the only difference.

“I don’t want people to suffer. I want people to have a good death. I just think people will suffer more if we introduce assisted suicide.”
Carr commented on the media reports that indicate that legalizing assisted suicide is inevitable. Pring reports:
she said there was “nothing inevitable about it, nothing at all… I still think it’s time for a conversation and it’s not inevitable.”

Carr said she did not understand why those fighting for legalisation did not put their resources into pushing for improved healthcare and palliative care, or “into giving people choice and control in their lives”.

She said: “Because choice isn’t choice when you’ve got no choice. It absolutely isn’t.

“And I meet people in my life who are suffering absolutely because they do not have choices in their life.”
Pring reports that Carr produced the documentary to get people with disabilities prominent in the debate:
One of the things she wanted to do with the documentary, she said, was to ensure that the disabled activists who are “a big part of my life” and “who have waited for this voice for years… feel heard and seen”.

A series of disabled actors, artists and activists opposed to legalisation are either seen on film or interviewed in the documentary, including Lisa Hammond, Ellen Clifford, Jamie Hale, Paula Peters, Eleanor Lisney, Penny Pepper and disabled peers Baroness [Jane] Campbell and Baroness [Tanni] Grey-Thompson.
Pring concludes the interview with Carr stating that her interview with Melanie Reid, who supports assisted suicide, primarily focused on the experiences of being two disabled women, living in contemporary society, and the struggles and the fights to get our care needs met”.

The documentary, Better off Dead? creates common ground for people with disabilities to oppose the legalization of assisted suicide. 

Previous articles about Liz Carr:
  • Laws against assisted suicide provide equal protection (Link).
  • Liz Carr address to Victoria Australia parliament on assisted suicide (Link).
  • Disability activists say no to euthanasia bill (Link).


Anonymous said...

Hello LIZ CARR, My HEARTFUL THANKS, you are great! Please go ahead with your beautiful support and work against euthanasia in order to protect and save THE LIVES INTO THE SALVATION OF JESUS!
Yours sincerely
Servant of JESUS CHRIST,
Bro. John-Thevanathan Thambirajah
Bergen, NORWAY.

Anonymous said...

I watched Liz Carr on Silent Witness and I’m thrilled she’s standing up for life, not death. What’s the difference between a led and disabled? We are all individuals God made (sorry Liz ;) and are worthy of all love and life. Love and hugs to you!

Barbara Fitchette said...

I believe that Dr. Wiebe is a clone of Dr. Kavorkian. How did the people she approved to die show how grateful they felt as she leaned in to her happy place. I worked my entire career in suicide prevention. Suicide is a permanent solution to (in some situations) a temporary problem. If Canada starts to approve suicide for the increasing numbers of homeless, lonely, sick of their lives, loathing each day people, that means our government wants this population to disappear instead of allowing modular housing for getting people to be able to survive. Read Therefore Choose Life - My Journey from Hopelessness to Hope, sold by Amazon, by Tyler James Dunlop who has disappeared to Vancouver, where there are more rotting corpses than the number of bodybags available and he'll die in the streets.