People with disabilities don’t want your pity and we don’t want your death

 

By Steve Passmore

Editor’s note. The following letter, which was published by the Hamilton Spectator on April 15, was reprinted on the blog of Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. Mr. Passmore is a member of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition board.

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Steve Passmore protesting euthanasia bill in 2009.

Steve Passmore protesting euthanasia bill in 2009.

I was born with cerebral palsy and I have lived all of my life with pain. I now have scoliosis which affects my mobility and gives me further pain. My prognosis is living with a wheelchair.

Steven Fletcher MP has introduced euthanasia bills with language that specifically focuses on people with disabilities because his bills are about him dying by euthanasia.

Fletcher is saying that he does not value his life, but I value my life and the lives of others with disabilities. His “right to die” ends at the point where it affects other people. Don’t take me down with your death wish.

As a member of parliament, Fletcher has the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities, to work towards improving social supports and living opportunities, but his euthanasia bills say that our lives are not worth living.

People with disabilities are at risk from euthanasia because they are often dependent on others who legally have the right to make decisions for them. Any legislation that lessens protections in law for people with disabilities is very concerning.

I have overcome many physical and social barriers in my life, I am busy wanting to live, but Fletcher’s bill directly affects my right to live.

People with disabilities, who live with a positive mind-set, show society how to overcome challenges. We see these challenges as opportunities for personal growth.

Fletcher wants your pity. People with disabilities don’t want your pity and we don’t want your death.

The concept of euthanasia creates great fear for me. Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide abandons me as a person. That society would rather help me die with dignity, than help me live with dignity.

We will fight for the right of people with disabilities to live with equality, value and acceptance.

Steven Passmore
Hamilton Ontario