(Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
January 22, 2013
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA-- [Excerpt provided by Inclusion Daily Express] Like many people, I was struck by last week's story about 45 year old deaf twin brothers killed by "legal euthanasia" in Belgium. According to reports, they were both going blind and were frightened of losing their independence and had "nothing to live for".
An excellent piece by Leah Hobson published on Ramp Up last week makes the case against stacking judgments on brothers Marc and Eddy. However our view on legalising euthanasia here in Australia needs to weigh personal rights, disability rights, financial, emotional and other pressures which we may experience to take our own lives.
It is significant that the focus of articles about euthanasia and end of life planning like this one in The Australian hastily drift into how much it costs the community to keep people with intensive support needs going. How quickly compassion dies and the calculators come out.
In the current world of rationed care and economic rationalism, it is not hard to imagine a situation where the availability of euthanasia becomes seen as a cheaper, easier, 'rational' option to providing intensive support, community living and care for those most vulnerable. Instead of having the support to make well-considered choices, the services that make life bearable could fall away and people with disabilities could be levered into taking their lives as the default option.
Euthanasia: let's look at the bigger picture
In pursuit of good lives, and good choices