Why Do Disabled Get Suicide, Non-Disabled Get Suicide Prevention?

Opinion   |   Not Dead Yet   |   Mar 15, 2013   |   3:53PM   |   Washington, DC

When a bullied adolescent, a victim of gay bashing or a bereaved spouse is suicidal, that person gets suicide prevention services.  When a person with a disability says he wants to die, he is given assisted suicide.

·       What about the right to cry for help?
·       When the law allows assisted suicide, it’s saying that some lives are more worth saving than others.
·       Assisted suicide and euthanasia are not restricted to people with terminal illness.
·       Nearly every person who requests assisted suicide has a physical, mental or sensory impairment that limits major life activities.
·       Of those who request assisted suicide in Oregon, the majority do so because of issues related to disability, not pain.
·       People with disabilities and older people are more than twice as likely as non-disabled people to be financially, emotionally, and physically abused. Assisted suicide will make this problem deadly.
·       When disabled people go to the hospital, they may face pressure to refuse treatment, or denial of urgent care.
·       Safeguards are ineffective.
     ·   Financial and social pressure often cause people to ask for assisted suicide
  ·   Tests for “competence” are not designed to detect depression, grief, or other treatable problems that can lead to suicidal feelings.
     ·   In places where assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal, problems may go undetected because sometimes doctors don’t file the required reports.
·         Creating an exception to the assisted suicide ban for a few people poses a serious danger for many more people. (Canadians have reject capital punishment for the possibility that even one person might be wrongfully killed).
·       Current law gives everyone the right to refuse medical treatment, food and water, even if that causes death.
·       The “choice” to die is an illusion because discrimination and lack of access to palliative care, in-home services and supports limit the quality of life of older and disabled people. These factors create economic and social pressure that can tip the scale.

·       How can you make a free choice to die when you don’t have a free choice in where or how you live?