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Crippen looks at the recent comment made by Jane Campbell about the assisted suicide debate / 12 June 2010

Crippen's cartoon about the assisted suicide debate

Crippen's not dead yet cartoon

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The following is an extract from Baroness Jane Campbell's recent comment in the Guardian.

"Disabled and terminally ill people have had to deal with fear, prejudice and discrimination since the beginning of time. Our lives have been devalued by statements such as "he/she'd be better off dead". In recent years, calls for a change to the law prohibiting assisted suicide have grown louder and more frequent.

"They capitalise on fear. Fear of pain, fear of loss of dignity, fear of being a burden. And, yes, fear of witnessing those fears being felt by those we know and love. The solution offered to the fear of disability and illness is final: suicide.

"Yet suicide is not well thought of in our society. It is 'committed' by the mentally ill and those unable to face the future. In both cases, society does all that it can to prevent suicidal thoughts being enacted. Life is too precious to be solely entrusted to individual action.

"That society is willing to protect us, even from ourselves in times of personal crisis, defines our – and its – humanity. However, those seeking a change to the law on assisted suicide say such ideals have no place when considering severely disabled and terminally ill people. Such lives, it seems, are not so precious: ending them prematurely should be a matter of individual choice.

"Perversely, if you can take your own life without assistance, society generally strives to protect you; but, if assistance to die is needed, they argue, it should be provided. The option to choose the time of one's death is to be reserved for those for whom assistance is required.

"No equality there. Yet many see this as irrefutably logical and compassionate.

"It was the realisation that the majority of disabled and terminally ill people were not being heard in this debate that led to the formation of Not Dead Yet UK.  We joined with other groups in opposing the two most recent attempts to change the law.

"In each case the House of Lords was decisive in rejecting calls for assisted suicide. However, the euthanasia campaigners have vowed to try again in the current parliament."

Please click on the high-lighted links above to find out more about the current campaigns organised and led by Disabled people.
 

Keywords: assisted suicide,direct action network (dan),disabled people's movement,discrimination,history of disabled people,politics,user led organisations,

Comments

sanda

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14 June 2010

I echo pink pjs comment, from a point of view of a person in the US with severe ME/CFS. She's said it so well. I'll only add that I have many comments on www.notdeadyet.org which is how I found Crippen's Blog. While I like the cartoon, I'd direct my ire (not much of a user of the F word) at the folks who are dying to kill us (to use some old American slang "dying to" for eager).

Marlon Nyirenda - via FaceBook

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14 June 2010

Just my opinion but I think the issue here is rightly as you say choice. Its not necessariy that anti-assisted suicide lobbyists don't empathise with Sir Terry and Diane Purdy it is becaause they look at the big picture. By that I'm referring to what Pink PJ's said about people who wouldn't necessarily be alive if such legislation came into force.

Sir ... See moreTerry and co have the voice to choose and be listened to unlike others say people with mh issues or severe learning difficulties where the deciision may well be taken out of their hands. Sir Terry has such an honour because he has been recognised for his contributions therefore he would never be in a sitution where the decision was unfairly taken out of his hands others aren't in such a position.

I believe they woud be a lot less care homes for disabled adults because their lives would be ended prematurely due to attitudes towards 'quality of their life' and that before we get into the debate on premature babies.

I also think that there is a one sided debate going on here and its no coincidence that the pro-assisted suicide lobbyists most in the meda spotlight are those who aqquired their impariments /health conditions later in life.

The major anti-assisted suicide campaigner Baroness Campbell was born with debilating conditon and she has already outlived expectatiions in terms of life span and her achievements. Plus she has also fought against a DNR order being placed on her records.

My point is the same as Pink Pj's in regards to being fearful of the future with a condition as opposed to looking at options at maximising quality of life that is left. In many respects again those notable people had that choce Baroness Campbell did not. So I think there's a lot to be said about social model vs medical model thinking here.

Julia Stanbridge - via FaceBook

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14 June 2010

Everyone to their own opinion. Put it this way - if I found out that I was dying a long, slow and extrememly painful death, but beforehand being in a wheelchair where I couldn't even wipe myself anymore, I'd like to think I had the option of assisted suicide. How that could be illegal beats me. I agree with Sir Terry - and that's from someone who already HAS got a terminal illness and is - at the moment - still mentally well.

Catherine Garrod - via FaceBook

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13 June 2010

I was at a debate in the Scottish Parliament today with Margo Macdonald who is currently leading on a Scottish Bill to legalise assisted suicide. The Scottish disabled activists were out in force and we put our case eloquently and strongly that we assistance to live not assistance to die.

pink pjs

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12 June 2010

As a mh survivor and having worked with people who have been near to, and some who sadly have taken their own lives, I can say that none have really wanted to die but their pain has felt so unbearable that they felt they couldn't live. What kind of society do we live in if people feel like this?

Of course, with cuts in health and social care in every area, it's likely that more people will feel this way along with the fact that poor people are being targetted for cuts both financial and in opportunity in every way.

Still, it's a cheaper option... enoucourage the hopeless to do the 'decent thing' survival of the 'fittest' and most wealthy, after all, this is a time of austerity, more for some than others, sadly.

This Condem farce seems to feel that we should pay the price for the so-called world-recession... why???

Arty Farty

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12 June 2010

They can all fuck off indeed Mr C!