Assisted dying law is about choice, not getting rid of disabled people

Recent proposals for legislation contain more safeguards than exist now, says Colin Low. Plus contributions from Tom Shakespeare and Christie Arntsen

Disabled people are too self-regarding when, like Jamie Hale, they make out that legalising assisted dying is all about getting rid of disabled people (We’re told we are a burden. No wonder disabled people fear assisted suicide, 1 June). Nor is it, as Jamie suggests, about licensing the deliberate taking of someone else’s life. It is about giving terminally ill, mentally competent people the choice of an assisted death when palliative care no longer suffices. All importantly, the terminally ill person has to ask and two independent doctors have to agree.

Though they may overlap, terminally ill and disabled people are distinct groups. Being disabled myself and a lifelong campaigner for disabled people’s rights, I can testify that not all disabled people are opposed to assisted dying. In a 2015 Populus poll, 86% of disabled people supported the choice of assisted dying for terminally ill people.

Related: We’re told we are a burden. No wonder disabled people fear assisted suicide | Jamie Hale

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