People with Disabilities often Fear They’re a Burden. That’s Why Legal Assisted Suicide Scares Me.

September 22, 2017

(Vox) – I was born nearly 55 years ago with spinal muscular atrophy, a congenital, progressive neuromuscular weakness akin to muscular dystrophy. Without extensive daily interventions — hands-on (and expensive) assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, and feeding, as well as breathing treatments, wheelchair maintenance, and so forth — I wouldn’t last long. In fact, before recent medical advances, half of the infants diagnosed with my condition perished before age 2. Their hearts and lungs simply became too weak to go on. The knee-jerk questioning of whether my life is worth saving drives my opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide. And I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced this kind of dismissive attitude, the subtle pressures and invisible coercions to unburden others.

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