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People, pain, pets & suicide

July 23, 2012

I thought I had discussed my concerns about assisted suicide for disabled people in previous posts.  I looked back and it seems that I actually haven’t.  I guess I was too nervous.  I am going to try to share a link with you – to an article in the Winnipeg Free Press that articulates some of my concerns with assisted suicide.  Thanks to the Inclusive Humanity web site for directing me to this story.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/westview/its-expensive-to-support-the-disabled—-suicide-kits-are-3995-163272916.html

The author of the article talks about the idea that needing help to manage one’s incontinence is so degrading that death is better.  I think that we really need to challenge this belief.  I do not require assistance from another person to manage my incontinence.  However, as I have been more comfortable discussing urinary stress incontinence, I have discovered that many, many women my age (and younger) have this condition.  The next step would be requiring assistance from another person to deal with it.  Do I consider suicide because of this?  No.

Would I consider suicide if my children died before me?  I do not think I would actually do it but I have no doubts at all that I would consider it.  Please read the article and you will see how these questions help us to turn issues upside down and inside out in order to see other possible answers and perspectives.

I believe we need to look much more closely at assisted suicide before we decide that it is a good idea.  I have included the word ‘pets’ in the title of this post.  I do that because shortly after the British Columbia (Canada) Supreme Court gave permission for physicians to assist Gloria Taylor to commit suicide, there was a cartoon in my local newspaper.  Essentially the cartoon said that we assist our pets to die and now we are finally allowing people to assist people to die.  I found this cartoon very offensive for a number of reasons.  However, the most important reason is that comparing people to animals is offensive to me as I have discussed in a previous post.

Please read the article and let me know what you think.  I trust that there are other perspectives that I have not even considered.

Sheila

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2 Comments
  1. You made sense. Sorry I haven’t responded before now. I wish people didn’t feel that they had to commit suicide because they feel they are a ‘burden’ to others. I do believe that sometimes it is worth risking earlier death in order to ease pain when someone is dying.

    We are all burdens to those who love us at times. Maybe if more of us would help each other no one would ever believe they need to end their life in order to ease an other’s burden.

  2. I didn’t even get past the title of the article, which might as well have been “Kill ‘Em All”. As a disabled person I find the attitude of the article offensive in and of itself.

    I believe that anybody has the right to die if that’s what they want (writer Terry Pratchett, who has Early Onset Alzheimers, has chosen to go to Dignitas when his condition becomes a burden on his family or nursing staff, as has a friend of mine with Multiple Sclerosis) but this article does seem to be suggesting that disabled people are no better than stray animals anyway, and that is just horrible.

    My epilepsy means that I have lost a good amount of bladder control over the years, and I will sometimes wake up to discover that I’ve had a seizure and have wet myself – but that’s why I have continence pads to use when I’m away from home.

    I hope this makes sense – I ramble and rant when something angers me, and there’s nothing more upsetting than learning that some idiot know-nothing believes that people with disabilities are only worth $39 for a suicide kit.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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