The first assisted suicide approved in Italy is a man with disabilities who was involved in a car accident ten years ago. What kind of precedent does this set for Italians with disabilities?
In the 2019 report by The National Council on Disability, it is clear that assisted suicide laws are rife with dangers to people with disabilities and disability organizations across the United States oppose assisted suicide legislation.
Proponents of legal assisted suicide for the terminally ill frequently claim that the opposing views of disability organizations aren’t relevant. Although people with disabilities aren’t always terminally ill, the people with life-threatening illness almost always have disabilities. Similarly, some think that pain is the top reason patients seek out assisted suicide while that is not the case. The top five reasons Oregon doctors report for issuing lethal prescriptions are the “loss of autonomy” (91%), “less able to engage in activities” (89%), “loss of dignity” (81%), “loss of control of bodily functions” (50%) and “feelings of being a burden” (40%). All of these are disability issues.
Assisted suicide legislation is inherently dangerous and discriminatory and people with disabilities around the world are at risk.