‘Leftie, feminist, academic’ Shakira Hussein: “Why I don’t support euthanasia (and you shouldn’t either)”

by Shakira Hussein, Crikey, 17 May 2016

Dr Hussein is a writer and academic at the National Centre for Excellence in Islamic Studies, University of Melbourne, researching issues of gender, multiculturalism, gendered violence and radicalisation.

She wrote last year: “I considered that opposition to euthanasia was a cause for right-wing social conservatives, not for leftie feminists like me.”

Then she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

As the disease becomes more active, I began to see the ways in which the campaign to legalise euthanasia devalues the lives of people living with a disability and/or chronic disease.

The legalisation of euthanasia is Greens policy and is widely supported by many who would consider themselves to be broadly left-wing and/or feminist. Yet I would argue that this constituency ought to be very wary of the attitudes and assumptions underlying legalised euthanasia.

Studies have found that support for euthanasia is significantly lower among African-Americans than among the general population. Some analysts speculate that this is due to higher levels of religiosity, and this may well play a role. But in a society that is still coming to terms with the idea that “Black Lives Matter”, it is not paranoid for African-Americans to be concerned about the implications of medically assisted suicide.

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