By Stephen Drake - Guest Essayist.
Stephen Drake is the research analyst for Not Dead Yet.
Recently, you’re hearing and reading a lot about “aid in dying” — a relatively new term that is increasingly used in place of “assisted suicide.” You’re also being told that the issues surrounding assisted suicide are simple, with the only objections coming from far-right Christian conservatives.
There are many nonreligious progressives who have actively opposed legalization of assisted suicide for many years. The organization I work for is a secular disability rights group formed 19 years ago to oppose legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. Thirteen other national disability rights groups also oppose legalization – many of them for over a decade.
Legalized assisted suicide sets up a discriminatory policy toward suicide based on the health status of the person who wants to commit suicide. Young, healthy, nondisabled people’s suicides are treated as preventable tragedies, while old, ill and disabled people are seen as expressing autonomy and deserving assistance to make sure our suicides don’t fail.