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Argument: Euthanasia threatens vulnerable disabled groups

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Not Dead Yet, a disability rights organization. From its "About Us" page. Retrieved November 28, 2006 - "Though often described as compassionate, legalized medical killing is really about a deadly double standard for people with severe disabilities, including both conditions that are labeled terminal and those that are not. Disability opposition to this ultimate form of discrimination has been ignored by most media and courts, but countless people with disabilities have already died before their time...

Legalized medical killing is not a new human right, it's a new professional immunity. It would allow health professionals to decide which of us are 'eligible' for this service, and exempt them from accountability for their decisions. Killing is not just another medical treatment option, and it must not be made any part of routine health care. In these days of cost cutting and managed care, we don't trust the health care system, and neither should you."[1]

Robert Burgdorf Jr., J.D., The National Council on Disability. "Assisted Suicide: A Disability Perspective". March 24, 1997 - "Current evidence indicates clearly that the interests of the few people who would benefit from legalizing physician-assisted suicide are heavily outweighed by the probability that any law, procedures, and standards that can be imposed to regulate physician-assisted suicide will be misapplied to unnecessarily end the lives of people with disabilities and entail an intolerable degree of intervention by legal and medical officials in such decisions. On balance, the current illegality of physician-assisted suicide is preferable to the limited benefits to be gained by its legalization. At least until such time as our society provides a comprehensive, fully-funded, and operational system of assistive living services for people with disabilities, this is the only position that the National Council on Disability can, in good conscience, support."[2]

Rhoda Olkin, Ph.D. "Why I Changed My Mind About Physician-Assisted Suicide: How Stanford University Made a Radical Out of Me". Journal of Disability Policy Studies. Summer 2005 - "People with disabilities are more likely than those without disabilities to live below the poverty line, to be without insurance, and to use government insurance versus private insurers...

Many persons with disabilities have personal histories of traumas and objectification at the hands of doctors, and there is a distrust, if not an antipathy, in the disability community toward medical professionals. Having two doctors (or, just as likely, employees of a health maintenance organization) making a determination of informed consent does not seem like an adequate safeguard for people with disabilities...

Inherent in the request for PAS [physician-assisted suicide] is the idea that one's quality of remaining life is sufficiently impaired that continued life would be cruel. But people without disabilities judge the quality of the lives of people with disabilities more harshly than do the people with disabilities themselves. If professionals think that of course the disabled person would want to die, might not these expectations play a disheartening role in someone's decision to seek PAS? Would a request for PAS from a person with disabilities be subject to less scrutiny because the decision makes sense to others?...

In a society in which people with disabilities are one of the most disadvantaged minority groups, we do not have the luxury of thinking of PAS as a final act of self-determination. We are a vulnerable population, subject to forced sterilization, ostracization, stigma, and discrimination. It is not paternalistic to think that people with disabilities will be coerced into PAS (or killed without their permission); to argue that people with disabilities have as much free will as the nondisabled is to ignore the oppression of people with disabilities."[3]

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