As the cartoon illustrating this article suggests, disability activists fear that euthanasia could become a cheaper option for medical care.
He cites studies of the ableist attitudes in the medical profession. One recent survey found that 82% of practicing physicians in the US believed that “people with significant disability have worse quality of life than non-disabled people”. This makes “unbiased practice of EAS with regards to disabled individuals … highly questionable,” he writes.
Attitudes towards the disabled ignore what scholars called “the disability paradox” – that “many with persistent and serious disabilities report that they experience anywhere between a good to an excellent quality of life”. But people with an ableist bias are unable to appreciate that.
To return to the message of the cartoon, Professon Stainton writes that “A key concern of the disability community is that people will seek access to EAS because they are unable to secure the degree or types of disability supports and accommodations they need to live a full and meaningful life.”
What does the future hold for the disabled in countries with EAS? Professor Stainton fears that broad public support for “mercy killings” will create a climate in which parents will be able to have disabled children euthanised. “It is also not inconceivable that families with decision-making control or influence will choose EAS for their children when faced with insurmountable barriers to securing appropriate supports.”
The Cartoon was created by Amy Hasbrouck, a Board Member of Not Dead Yet, and Director of Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet, a project of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and past President of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.