Should persons with disabilities live? This article nails it…

June 14, 2011 at 10:39 AM (Duty to Die Movement) (, , , , , , , )

Jack Kevorkian has left the planet.   I’ll say no more, on the grounds of  “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’

Maybe the Duty to Die advocates will be quieter now.

Via Stephen Drake and “Not Dead Yet.”

‘Even though the article is from 1993, it’s even more relevant now,as the “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps,” ideology is even more in evidence.

My favorite quote from this?

If people with disabilities know that they can rely on someone to get them out of bed in the morning, maybe more of us would find a productive reason to do so.

If we can be either conventionally “productive,” by working, or add something to our society by our talents, or by volunteering…um breaking news:  We still have to be here to do it.  With correct caregiving the productivity of persons with disabilities, working or not, would skyrocket, and at the same time the cost of the caregiving would have some offset because less medical expense would accrue, since you’re less likely to suffer from depression, and less likely to have medical issues  or accidents that cause further injury with proper care.

Not to mention the fact that nursing home care costs as much as twice what home care does.  (and yes, I’ll keep harping on this til the Tea Party, the Republicans, the Democrats,  and all the other smaller divisions in  all fifty states cop to the fact that this would save them a ****load of money without cutting benefits, and pass legislation modeled on community choice.)

Instead of having the worries and fears over being abandoned and getting sicker, over finances, over relatives that *want* us to do this… drive us to consider assisted suicide, we’d be considering our lives, and what’s up tomorrow.

As Not Dead Yet and other advocates for persons with disabilites to, ( oh, I don’t know, keep breathing?) often say:

Consideration of assisted suicide cannot be framed as  irrational for able-bodied people, but at the same time rational for persons with disabilities or our elders.

That is a falsehood with dire implications.

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Right to Die: Painfully Clear

June 1, 2007 at 7:41 PM (Duty to Die Movement) ()

This isn’t the week that I should be blogfightin’ with the Right to Die Crowd… believe me …but this bit from the high profile Huffington Post was troubling, both for it’s position, and because the Huff thought this was something that needed space on their site.

Mr. Russel Shaw puts on a genial face, he does…and tells PWD’s who fear the Right to Die movement that Right to Die advocates are their friends…

Shaw first admits that:

Admittedly, I don’t have the immediate personal sensitivity to this issue that some disabled persons might have.

Yes, this is certainly not an argument on whether a temporarily able-bodied man wonders if he and those he loves will suffer pain at the end of life.

Then, Mr Shaw continues:

Could the real issue for some disability advocates be that ongoing life experiences have convinced you that able-bodied citizens feel you are “in the way,” and that right-to-die types have as the ultimate goal more tools to get you, our disabled brothers and sisters, “out of the way?”

Ya Think?

Many people with impairment remember a time when we were not in control of what happened to us, , or are *already* at the mercy of cost cutting measures that force people to hand over decision making about their *continued existence* to someone else. Or, we fear that we will be in that place sometime in the future.

I’ve been pressured in the hospital many times, not just to sign a DNR order, for example, but that I must not put anything into the free form comments, but just check the box that allows for withdrawal of nutrition and hydration. I customize the order for what I will and will not permit, face down the pressure to make it more “cost effective” for the hospital to end my life and sign it my way…

Of course, Mr Russel Shaw would say that that isn’t what assisted suicide is about at all…that folks that do this are *asked* to do it, solely as a means to end physical pain that has become too much to bear.

But, in the comments to his post sndrake of “Not Dead Yet” says:

You talk of “pain” but you might have been a little more honest and let people know that even in Oregon that reason doesn’t come near the top of the list that people have given for seeking assisted suicide. “fear of being a burden” and “loss of autonomy” come closer. Those aren’t medical issues

Why goodness me, and looky here…

There’s that fear of loss of autonomy…right at the top of the list.

And “being a burden,” …sounds like people need some validation that there’s no crime in needing assistance to live one’s life.

Disabled people are right in their experience and intuition that loss of autonomy is around many corners and that we have to be vigilant that as we suddenly or gradually need more care that we don’t get a mental push from some idea …and that *fear* increased to a wish for death— *has* *been* exploited…it is what Kevorkian’s actions are full of…

[update: Here’s the Wikipedia entry, with references at the bottom]

If excruciating physical pain were clearly the only reasons that people asked for assisted suicide…I’d have much less concern over it’s being abused and misused to get rid of the less convienient among us. I myself would truly *want* it as an option if all other experiences,thoughts,words,were consumed by physical pain.

*But* *pain* *is* *not* *the* *only* *reason* *people* *asked.

And, as Mr Drake continued in his comment:

Calling the suicidal wishes of disabled people “rational” and the suicidal wishes of nondisabled people “irrational” is nothing more than bigotry.

It’s the ultimate expression of the human doctor or caregiver or family member thinking, “Well I could never live like that…” and subtly or directly, projecting that attitude onto the person who is considering assisted suicide.

“I could never live like that…”

How *often* have any of us with disabilities heard *that*

I understand that there are many who see this choice as a rational one, many, some of whom are my closest friends.

For me there is only a very narrow path to voluntary euthanasia that can be considered rational…the path where the physical body is only giving off, not just chronic pain, exhaustion or fatigue, but excriciating pain and agony…*and* there is no preexisting *chemical-non situational depression* involved to impair judgement.

Otherwise, assisted suicide makes life a *fear* to be exploited/transformed into murder, not a torture to be released from.

And, I’ll never call it any less. Never. Even if I choose it.

and then there’s this writer

who *admits* that voluntary euthanasia in our society is the clear road to involuntary euthanasia…but then, with a kind of eerie calm, says that it is inevitable and therefore correct.

This isn’t “Logan’s Run.”

I’ve known so many older/disabled people. In tough pain. Who grasped at every last moment to stay alive…because they *wanted to stay* or they knew others wanted them to stay.

If assisted suicide was commonplace…well…I’d have a lot fewer good stories to tell about my friends or my husband…

because many of them would have been handed the wrongheaded idea and their fear would have pushed them to leave the planet early.

I love *this response* that (in a restrained and civilized way, laugh) wonders why Kevorkian has all this access to exposure

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God Has Just Spoken: It has been decided that

November 16, 2006 at 11:52 AM (euthanizing children)

Pastors in England evidently give their blessing to euthanizing seriously disabled infants…If you’re a member of the Church of England

Just when I thought it might be safe to connect to organized religion…

And, the oddity of:

This means apparently *only* Anglican infants with severe disabilities can be euthanized with a religous ok???


Yep I’m American. Which must be part of the reason that I don’t *get* this.

But I’ll reiterate. (and no this is *not* about abortion, because these children have already been born.)

When a child is carried to term and born:

There are no guarantees about potential. No matter how knowlegeable the physician, or how anguished the family.

Potential, positive or negative, *remains an open question* when the infant arrives defenseless on the scene.

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A clear, concise complex

May 26, 2006 at 6:38 PM (Duty to Die Movement) ()

set of testimony…that reinforces why we are in the middle of the culture war, and specific examples of the gradual move from the right to die, to a duty to die….

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Post Mortem

June 15, 2005 at 3:21 PM (Duty to Die Movement, Duty to Give Birth Movement, Terri Schiavo)

Terri Schiavo’s autopsy was completed today.
Comments at Kos, range from:

“The right wing idiots were dead wrong on this issue all around. But gloating will make you look like a prick and to me it seems some of yall are happy about the shitty condition of this women….[sic]”
“I have to say I agree here. (none / 0)Gloating is somewhat pointless. The people who were rushing to Terri’s aid are no more convinced after the autopsy of anything but a whitewash to cover a murder, that this goes to show how corrupt the doctors and judiciary in Florida are. How horrible Michael is, one even said they thought Michael tried to murder her with insulin, since you can just buy that over the counter (you can’t, you can’t even buy syringes without a prescription, but let’s not let the facts stand in the way!)”

To, “I am of the cold-hearted opinion that it is not worth the health care resources to keep someone like this alive… .”
by woos on Wed Jun 15th, 2005

That last line, I don’t want anyone thinking that, writing that or pontificating that in the media. Because once someone says that about Terri, it becomes open for debate, *and applies to many many more persons than Terri Schiavo.* She did not have sentience, but the above attitude allows able bodied providers and insurers to have a closed door dialogue about those worth sustaining and those not worth sustaining. Eventually, sentience may not even be a factor. In the discussions of doctors and health insurers it becomes permissible for them to decide what kind of life is economically worth keeping. Disabled people then become sacks of potatoes that if they are ‘wanting’ in some way don’t measure up.
The Right Blogs won’t look at science. Lefty blogs (at the time of this writing) have no respondents who come from the disability community as regards Terri Schiavo’s autopsy.
I do not dispute the facts of her autopsy. I strongly reject the characterization of all who opposed the removal of Terri’s feeding tube as wingnuts and idiots.

Mary Johnson wrote in :
the Media Circus section of the Ragged Edge website back in February:
“Religious opposition to assisted suicide is based on “sanctity of life” arguments. Disability rights opposition comes from an entirely different sensibility. The mostly-agnostic activists we know who oppose the “right to die” are steeped in progressive leftist causes. They read “death with dignity” laws as disparate impact legislation.
The “right to die” may sound egalitarian; it may sound as though it’s about nothing more than choice. In application, though, it applies only to people who are living disabled lives. And the disability rights movement continually returns to this central truth. “Since virtually all people who request hastened death have old or new disabilities, we’re essential to the debate,”
wrote the late Barry Corbet, longtime editor New Mobility. Right to die, and death with dignity laws, Corbet wrote, “are about us.”
“Many of our allies in the civil rights and health care movements have found this hard to understand. Isn’t this about individual autonomy and rights, they ask?” says attorney Diane Coleman, founder of
Not Dead Yet. “No, we say, it’s about disability discrimination, a profit-oriented health care system, and a legal system that does not guarantee the equal protection of the law,” she wrote in a 2000 article for the American Bar Association. “

There are times when it’s more fun to play politics than actually dissect the motives of the opposition, eh, Kos?

Looks like your autopsy of those opposed to the removal of Schiavo’s feeding tube missed a spot.

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