Better off dead? What Peter Singer doesn't get about disability and euthanasia

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last week Peter Singer, the bioethicist from Princeton University debated Anthony Fisher the Archbishop of Sydney Australia. Singer, who has published books supporting euthanasia, assisted suicide and infanticide, faced strong criticism from the disability rights community.

Today, Craig Wallace, the convenor of Lives Worth Living, a disability advocacy group speaking out about euthanasia and eugenics, and is the president of People with Disability Australia (PWDA), was published by Crickey with an article explaining why the disability rights movement opposes Singer's philosophy and why they oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Wallace explains:

If proponents of voluntary euthanasia were looking to reassure us that legalised suicide would, in fact, be voluntary and not about people with disabilities, they chose the wrong standard bearer. Singer is consistently on the record supporting infanticide of babies with certain disabilities. In his book Practical Ethics, Singer argues the case for selective infanticide. He believes it unfair that:  
“At present parents can choose to keep or destroy their disabled offspring only if the disability happens to be detected during pregnancy. There is no logical basis for restricting parents’ choice to these particular disabilities. If disabled newborn infants were not regarded as having a right to life until, say, a week or a month after birth it would allow parents, in consultation with their doctors, to choose on the basis of far greater knowledge of the infant’s condition than is possible before birth.” 
Singer may not be “poised, needle in hand” ready to plunge it into the arm of the nearest disabled person. It is, nonetheless, difficult to stick to topic when a person who thinks it might have been a good idea to “destroy” you as a child offers you a whisky shot glass and a pistol in latter days. Forgive us for having trust issues.

Wallace challenges the euthanasia lobby that if euthanasia is mean't to be truly voluntary and not about disability, why don't they define the laws in that way?

Link to the full article