Assisted suicide is just wrong.

This article was published in the Huffington Post on March 11, 2015.

By Simon Stevens, is an independent disability issues consultant.

Simon Stevens

Simon Stevens

You can call it assisted dying, assisted suicide, mercy killings, helping people along or anything else you want, but whatever you call it, I would say it is just wrong. The debates and pressure to legalise assisting dying has focused on the right to choose how we die, but this is in reality a right afforded to no one as we live in a world where no one knows when they we are going to die.

You may argue that people who commit suicide know when they are going to but few people actually plan to commit suicide as a rational act to take control of their destiny and it is not a form of action that has gained any acceptance within society. I am sure daytime TV will never be offering advice on how to have a good suicide! Instead, suicide and suicidal thoughts come as a possible immediate solution to a period of immense depression or frustration. It is an irrational desire that comes from people not seeing other ways forward.

When a supposedly well or non-disabled person commits suicide, there is shock and horror as people examine the environmental causes that may have led them to suicide, generally concluding the real reasons may probably always be a mystery. If a non-disabled or well person expresses a desire to commit suicide, those they tell are most likely to do everything they have to talk them out of their desire by asking them to think of the positive things in their life.

When a sick or disabled person commits suicide, the rules change. There is an unspoken assumption they had a valid reason to do so with people remarking they are probably better off now. More worrying is families, coroners and the media seem eager to make clear conclusions, particularly that 'stress' caused by their interaction with DWP is a key reason for their suicide, when there could in reality be a whole range of factors. I find this politicisation of what is a tragic event quite sickening and deeply worrying, as it shows deep rooted prejudices toward sick and disabled people.

Link to the full article