Written by Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick, OBE, to two members of the Welch assembly.
Dr Fitzpatrick is the Director of EPC - International and the spokesperson for the disability rights group, Not Dead Yet - UK.
I understand that in just two days time, the Welsh Assembly will debate whether there is support for wider legislation permitting assisted suicide/euthanasia (AS/E). I am writing to you most urgently to ask you to consider how such legislation affects all citizens, but especially disabled people.
There are deep and serious questions when someone says ‘I wish to die’. For example, amongst many factors, the thought can seduce someone in a vulnerable moment. Disabled people know this seduction as well as any.
So our difficulty here is not focused on individual vulnerability - but on the consequences of introducing a law, ‘permitting’ the intervention of any third party into end-of-life decisions. Such laws have the most awful, fatal outcomes for disabled and other vulnerable people. Overwhelming evidence from other jurisdictions, including and particularly Oregon in the context of the proposed legislation, makes that clear
Disabled people are most at risk from this legislation - largely due to discrimination solely on the grounds of disability
Anyone faced with such an end-of-life decision can be ‘vulnerable’. AS/E laws, implemented by practitioners or not, have terminal consequences for vulnerable disabled people.