Look at it this way: there are
53 million people with disabilities in the USA alone. If we were so
desperate to die, we'd be dropping off high buildings, hitting the pavement
like rain. You'd have to climb over heaps of dead cripples to get to
the bus stop in the morning.
Even Mark O'Brien, a poet who spent forty years in an iron lung --
pretty "helpless" by anybody's measure -- wrote that he could figure
out how to off himself if he was of a mind to do it. So it's not fair
to say that people with disabilities need special help to die. Seems
like the folks who most dread being like us are the ones most interested
in having us put down like old dogs. If they're so worried over our
quality of life, how come they worry so little about our equality of
When you know that America's health care system is market-driven, why
would you put death in physicians' market-driven hands? It's a fact:
most people with disabilities are cheaper dead than alive. Seventy percent
of us are unemployed, for starters. Many of us live at the mercy of
Medicaid, a fate we wouldn't wish on our worst enemies. (Most health
care "providers" don't accept Medicaid or even Medicare for payment.
They'll tell you straight out: the pay is too poor.) So when we get
a bad cold, or a heart attack, we gotta go to public hospital emergency
rooms for care.
The real world bears no resemblance to Chicago Hope.
In 1994, the state of Oregon figured out how to save the state major
health care dollars by rationing care. The majority of ailments whose
care the state labeled "ineffecient" (and thus unworthy of treatment)
were not terminal illnesses but disabilities. Today Oregon Medicaid
recipients, if they happen to be disabled and depressed, can mail-order
a dose of death. Progressives call this progress.*
If a woman with a disability gets depressed over her husband leaving
her or the agony of psoriasis and says to her doctor that she wants
to die, we believe doctors ought to Rx not a dose of death but the same
counseling any other depressed patient receives. Meantime, we join the
American Medical Association in opposing physician- assisted suicide.
And we're wary of doctors who leap in to help folks die.
Sorry, but we gotta bring it up: The Nazi Holocaust's first targets
-- in the Aktion T-4 program -- were people with disabilities. Hitler
and his doctor buddies declared them "life unworthy of life" and practiced
the first gas chambers on people like us. And it's not just Nazis. Ask
any social Darwinist: In times of scarcity, we're the first to get sent
out into the snowstorm to "disappear."
Ain't life grand?