Australia: Society not ready for legalised euthanasia, disability rights campaigner says

by Cathy Jacobs, ABC News, 7 December 2016

Ms Jacobs interviews Belinda Rogers, a former champion equestrian rider, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 10 years ago and now relies on care assistance to help her cope with chronic pain and disability.

Life in a wheelchair had opened her eyes to everyday discrimination faced by people living with disabilities and degenerative illness and what she described as the unspoken and insidious suggestion that they were a “burden”.

She has become a passionate advocate for disabled rights, forming a personal view that society is not ready for legalised euthanasia.

“We do hear a lot of reassuring comments from politicians about safeguards and ensuring the legislation is framed in such a way to protect vulnerable people.”

Ms Rogers is worried that as social pressures push for a broadening and increasing of the scope, those protections may change. 

“People will say I’m not terminally ill, but I’m suffering unbearably. Isn’t that discriminatory that my unbearable suffering can’t be catered for,” she asked.

“We’ve already seen that the lobbying and pushing for voluntary euthanasia has reached social acceptance so it is reasonable to think that in time unbearable suffering will be accepted as, indeed, it has been in Belgium and the Netherlands. Where will it stop?”

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