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

I can see no safeguards to prevent people being pressured into ending their lives. What we need is more support to live

Opposition to assisted suicide – also called assisted dying – is characterised as being the preserve of the religious, stuffy and outdated, like religious opposition to gay marriage and abortion. In reality, some of the loudest voices opposing it are those of people with disabilities – because we have the most to fear. A poll done by Scope (a disability charity) showed that the majority of disabled people (64%) were concerned about moves to legalise assisted suicide.

Arguments around the legality of suicide and the right to refuse treatment are often conflated with assisted suicide. Suicide is legal, and there is already a right to refuse treatment. People with mental capacity can also create an advance directive to ensure their wish to refuse treatment is respected in future. This leaves people often able to die on their own terms. What assisted dying advocates are requesting is to create a system in which it is legally and morally permissible for people to engage in a deliberate action designed to end someone else’s life.

Related: Legal challenge on assisted dying prompts rival London protests

Society’s priority should be to assist us to live, not to die

Related: As people with disabilities we shouldn’t be denied access to assisted dying | Tricia Malowney

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