Assisted suicide is invitation to murder
As a person who has a significant disability that impacts all areas of my life, I experienced anger, disappointment and frustration in reading the column about Ralph McFadden, who hopes that he is living in Illinois when the time comes for him to take a pill that will cause his death. If Illinois legalizes doctor-assisted suicide, it will join the nine states as well as the District of Columbia that have such statutes. McFadden is a former pastor and hospice chaplain who has witnessed dozens of people die. He has seen people unable to walk, having to use wheelchairs, needing to be fed and wearing diapers. Each day millions of people with disabilities, including me, live full lives despite being unable to perform certain activities.
The fact remains that if doctor-assisted suicide is legalized, people with disabilities will become targets for eager medical professionals, family members and friends who believe that easing someone's pain via death is compassionate. I believe it is assisted murder.
Disability remains a problem for many non-disabled people, many of whom can't imagine living full lives with a disability. Legalizing doctor-assisted suicide will put the lives of people with disabilities in jeopardy. Some reasons why people with a disability may choose to end their life include that they don't want to be a "burden" on family members/friends, there's a dearth of support groups, and the overriding reason: we, with our devices and medicines, are just too expensive. And subtle cues by a variety of people have the potential of swaying a person with a disability to choose death over life.
Rather than legalizing doctor-assisted suicide, energy must be put toward improving and increasing genuine options for education, employment, housing, and in-home assistance for the disabled.