Euthanasia law divides folks with disabilities

By March 11, 2015 Recent News

Stuff 12 March 2015
Clare Richards says an optimistic outlook on life has helped her endure years of pain, but she wants to choose when to quit life. The 65-year-old says a law to enable assisted suicide would bring peace and assurance to many people like her. She has had severe rheumatoid arthritis since she was 29 and had most of her joints replaced.
….She attended a talk on assisted suicide in Christchurch this week by Dutch advocate Dr Rob Jonquiere. Euthanasia in the Netherlands has been legal since 2002. Dutch nationals can request euthanasia from their doctor for “unbearable and hopeless suffering”. Jonquiere told the audience of about 40 people that there can come a time for some patients when a doctor’s “back is against the wall” and the only options are suffering or termination. In the Netherlands, euthanasia could go ahead when the doctor and patient reached the decision together, he said.
Christchurch man Ken Joblin, who has been blind since birth, said a euthanasia law would make people with disabilities feel less valued. “For people like me, who live with disability, there are times in our lives when we’re not feeling all that great, and if it is for extended periods of time we would be able to convince a doctor that we should die.” People with disabilities already felt isolated and a euthanasia law would make them feel even more marginalised, Joblin said. Jonquiere said he was not aware of the law affecting disabled Dutch people in a negative way.