by Carol Cleigh Sutton, Not Dead Yet, 15 August 2017
Ms Sutton is a disability activist, and was a founding board member of the United States group Not Dead Yet when it formed in 1996.
The very heart of the argument for assisted suicide/euthanasia (AS/E) is that an individual may be better off dead than disabled.
The fact that this argument can be made in respectable public forums demonstrates just how ableist this society is. How deeply the severely abled fear and loathe those of us who live with disability.
Ableism, like racism and sexism, is an ugly prejudice that society holds towards its minority members.
This ideology, which we call BDTD (Better Dead Than Disabled), permeates ableist society, but even more deeply infects the medical system, and the more society in general accepts it, the more we encounter it every time we have to deal with medicine. My husband, who was nearly 80 and disabled, was brought to the hospital by ambulance after a heart attack. Until I arrived and started raising the roof, they put him in a dark room in the back. He should have been connected to an EKG and given aspirin, and IV lines should have been established. But because he was disabled, he received none of this. They assumed he’d want to die. Thankfully, we had years after that, but if I’d been held up in traffic? Would their killing him have been prosecuted? Investigated?
Are you really wanting to create this ‘special class’ of people who can be killed and no one prosecuted? A class whose deaths won’t even be investigated? Is your ableism so strong that you’d change the law to allow others to kill us without consequence?
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