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Breda O’Brien: Euthanasia is symptom of society which does not care

21st September 2019

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Is euthanasia simply a symptom of a society which doesn’t care?

Euthanasia is often advocated for under a banner of compassion and care. Overseas, we see this ‘care’ extending to cases of patients suffering from dementia, mental illness and even failed sex-change operations. In the Netherlands, a court recently decided that an advanced directive was sufficient consent, even if the woman suffering from Alzheimer’s was forcefully objecting, and had to be held down to receive the lethal injection.

This leaves us wondering, what makes the difference between those who request euthanasia, and those with similar symptoms expressing a strong desire to live? Instead of widening the grounds for euthanasia, why not replicate conditions that make life worth living despite suffering?

In statistics where women, elderly and the disabled are more heavily represented requesting euthanasia, Breda O’Brien writes, “we must question whether medical killing is motivated by love, or by cold functions of sexism, ableism and ageism.”

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When it comes to ageism, are we fighting a losing battle?

by Catherine Foot, Centre for Ageing Better, 1 May 2017

Ageism is the last socially normal, socially acceptable form of prejudice. It’s been internalised, ingrained in us. It’s the last taboo.

People tend to think of ageing in terms of loss: whether it’s of loved ones; physical and mental capability; or independence, identity and sense of purpose.

Ultimately, we can’t prevent these losses, but I believe our response to longer lives needs to do six things to manage them and prevent ‘internalised ageism’ from taking root…

Read the full article here.