We feel your hate

[CN: Assisted dying; filicide]

Imagine watching people debate the value of your life, using words like ‘burden’ and ‘suffering’ (not your suffering; theirs), and discussing whether there is a way to determine the quantitative value of your existence.

Imagine reading the words of the latest person to weigh in on the debate, and reading who they think should get to decide that your life should end (it’s not you).

It sounds a bit like a plot from a dystopian novel, doesn’t it?

But it’s not. These debates are ongoing in various parts of the world while they consider assisted suicide or ‘dignity in dying’ legislation.

True, these types of laws are usually aimed at people with terminal illnesses, but inevitably someone mentions disabled people, someone else mentions disabled children, and someone else will bring the suffering of parents into the discussion.

Experts treat these discussions as philosophical exercises, and they seem to forget that the very real people who could be affected by their debate can see/hear/read every word they say.

In theory, I would support an individual’s choice to end their life, and to be assisted if assistance is required. But it has to be the individual’s choice and not anyone else’s.

In practice, most of these laws would disproportionately impact on disabled people. If a neurotypical, able-bodied person expresses a desire to end their life, people would rush to provide them with support. If a disabled person expresses the same desire, very little support would be offered.

Society already sees us as burdens. Many already think that our lives aren’t worth living. Society already thinks that we’re less valuable than abled people.

There already is a Disability Community Day of Mourning where we remember those who were murdered by their parents and caregivers. The list is long, and grows every year.

And now people want to legalise killing us.

Society treats this as a philosophical debate.

We watch in horror, and we feel your hate.

If you would like to attend a virtual vigil for the 2016 Disability Day of Mourning, please see this Facebook event.