Friday, 6 June 2014

Assisted dying plan like telling disabled ‘it’s not worth being alive’ – Tanni Grey-Thompson

Tanni Grey-Thompson
A number of prominent disability activists in the UK have been warning in the British media over the last few days that Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill is dangerous and puts people at risk.

This includes nine-time paralympian and holder of 11 paralympic gold medals and now British Peer, Tanni Grey-Thompson in a recent article in the UK Daily Telegraph. She was joined by other activists, including EPC Europe Director, Kevin Fitzpatrick OBE and Baroness Jane Campbell in an open letter criticising Falconer's Bill.

The letter says, in part:
“Why is it that when people who are not disabled want to commit suicide, we try to talk them out of it, but when a disabled person wants to commit suicide, we focus on how we can make that possible?
“We believe that the campaign to legalise assisted suicide reinforces deep-seated beliefs that the lives of sick and disabled people are not worth as much as other people’s; that if you are disabled or terminally ill, it’s not worth being alive.
“Disabled people want help to live – not to die.”

See also: 

"There are no possible safeguards that would protect vulnerable, sick and elderly people." Baroness Sheila Hollins


  1. “Why is it that when a disabled person wants to commit suicide, we focus on how we can make that possible?"
    The answer is obvious. A disabled person who really wants to die has only one option. Refuse all food and drink. That is not humane. If a disabled person wants to die and if they have spelled out their reasons many times to many people over many years, we have to respect that. And help them. Tony Nicklinson in the UK was such a case.

    1. Nic, you're missing the point, I'm afraid. It was not about people with disability not being able to end their own lives, it was about the observing the difference in attitude taken by people in respect to people with disability.


  2. OK, Paul, I will concentrate on talking to this group's claim that there is a difference in attitude. I will answer it by saying there isn't one. When a disabled person says "I want to live" that is respected by society...and how! Wheelchair ramps and access cabs are ubiquitous. As are motorised gophers. As are businesses that specialise in providing raised toilet seats, hand rails etc. Twenty years ago such things did not exist. On the odd occasion when a disabled or sick or elderly person says "I want to die" that is regarded by society as an unfortunate thing. I think the side that wants people to go on living is in no danger of extinction...and rightly so. "Not Dead Yet" are being alarmist when they claim that making voluntary euthanasia legal will change all this.

  3. Nic, you miss the point completely. Yes, it is clear that, in some countries, accessibility is being addressed for people living with disability. Also true that this, and other measures, have increased acceptance and dispelled prejudice. But talk to Tani or Baroness Campbell or Craig Wallace or Kevin Fitzpatrick or a myriad of others and you will quickly find that people still feel acutely that their loves are diminished by others.
    Nic, you really ought to get out more!