Monthly Archives

May 2016

Why I Blocked All Advertisements for “Me Before You”

By | Recent News

Claiming Clip 27 May 2016
It seems like I can’t be on Facebook or any other form of social media for more than five minutes lately without seeing an advertisement for the upcoming film, “Me Before You”. It is marketed as a heartwarming love story between a disabled man and his non-disabled caregiver. The previews play on the idea that “true love conquers all,” but the truth is the real story is much more sinister.

In the last advertisement I saw for it, one of the lines really struck me and upset me deep in my soul. The second I heard it my heart sunk, and I had to hold back the tears welling in my throat, not because I thought it was some touching romantic moment, but because the words stabbed me through the heart, and stopped me in my tracks.
“I don’t want you to miss all the things that someone else can give you,” said by a disabled character to a non-disabled character who he is in a relationship with.
It hit me because so many times in my life I have been afraid that the people who love me are missing out. I can’t count the times that I have wondered if my parents and my friends would be better off without me. I can’t count the times that I have thought everyone else’s lives would be easier if I just disappeared. I can’t count the number of times that I have felt that my existence was nothing more than a burden on everyone around me.
There were so many times growing up when I hated my existence, not because it made me miserable in any real way, but rather because I felt like I was keeping the people around me from having a “real life”. These feelings were reinforced by people who would praise my non-disabled friends and family members telling them that they were saints for “dealing with me.” These messages were reinforced every time inaccessibility kept not only me, but my friends and family from doing something we wanted to do, and I immediately felt like it was my fault. I felt like everybody else was “missing out” and it was all because of me.
Hearing that line uttered so casually on my television screen by a non-disabled actor pretending to be disabled caught me off guard, and made me more than a little bit uncomfortable. Hearing those words caused a nauseous feeling to bubble up in the pit of my stomach, because for me, for so much of my life, and in so many of my relationships, those words were not just a line in the script. For me, those words were real, and incredibly painful.
I spent much of my childhood and young adult life worrying that the people who chose to be in my life were somehow losing out on something so much better. I struggled to understand why anyone would willingly choose to be a part of my sometimes complicated and frustrating life as a disabled person. “Go on without me,” I would say to my non-disabled friends and family trying to fake a smile, “it’s okay. I don’t want anyone else to miss out because of me.

My friendships and relationships were so long defined by a culture that painted my existence as draining, problematic, and limiting for everybody else around me. I was led to believe that my life was somehow less valuable and less beautiful than my non-disabled counterparts. That my role was to make them realize life could always be worse, they could be like me so they should live every minute to the fullest. In the back of my mind I always wondered if the greatest gift I could give to the people I loved was just to disappear.
Even when I started dating someone who was also disabled, I weirdly worried that by dating me he was missing out on some mythical “better life.” I remember talking to him about it one night and he admitted to me that he worried the same thing. In that moment we both and realized how ridiculous we were being. Non-disabled life wasn’t better, it was just different. We weren’t missing out on anything! We were having different experiences, seeing and exploring the world in a different way, and that was just as beautiful and valuable, if not more so,than the mythical concept of normal.
When I think about my life as a disabled woman, I know I’ve taken a different path than my non-disabled brother and sister, but I don’t regret it. Some of my greatest experiences and fulfilling relationships have come into my life as a result of my disability. I have explored the world, gone on adventures, and fought against the inequities around me, all because I experience the world from my chair. Living life as a disabled woman isn’t always easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Now, as a young woman in my mid 20s, who has experienced unbelievable beauty, love, and friendship, but also devastating heartbreak and tragedy, I look at my life not as less, but as different. I know I’m not keeping my friends and family from anything, rather being disabled provides a whole new beautiful perspective on the world. My life does not exist to remind people of how bad things can get, it exists to be mine, and to be lived as beautifully and boldly as possible. I’m proud of who I am, and I’m grateful every day that I get the chance to live this life.

Me before You has its disabled protagonist choose death while encouraging audiences to “live boldly”, and I am so over that. I am so over the idea that a disabled person choosing to die is being “ brave” or “ bold.” I live boldly by fighting against prejudice, discrimination, and ableism. I live boldly by working to make this world a better place. I live boldly by experiencing the world and loving it not in spite of my disability, but because of it.
I live boldly by blocking all advertisements for “Me Before You” and rejecting the idea that a disabled life is a fate worse than death, and instead choosing to live and embrace every moment of this complicated, messy, and beautiful life.
Disability Groups Angered Over Movie With Euthanasia Plot 26 May 2016
Disability groups have started the hashtag #MeBeforeEuthanasia to voice outrage over the plot of the upcoming movie “Me Before You.” The movie is about a wealthy man rendered quadriplegic in a motorcycle accident. Despite falling in love with his caregiver, the character chooses to end his life via assisted suicide.
Naturally, some in the disabled community are a bit ticked that a film promoted with the hashtag “#LiveBoldly” would effectively glorify euthanasia. They have been referring to the film as a “disability snuff movie,” and protested outside of the theater hosting the movie’s premier.
Other persons with disabilities have been sharing pictures of themselves “living boldy” counter to the ideas promoted in the film.
All life is precious. Promoting euthanasia is despicable.


UNICEF lobbies Canadian Parliament to allow euthanasia for children

By | Recent News

LifeSiteNews 24 May 2016
Family First Comment: Shocking!
“That would include euthanasia or assisted suicide for mature minors who suffer from a NON-TERMINAL illness or DISABILITY, according to UNICEF Canada’s policy director Marvin Bernstein.”
Anything with UN in the title probably should be avoided….
UNICEF Canada is pushing for assisted suicide and euthanasia for children — or “mature minors” — arguing that this conforms with the Charter, Canadian legal precedent and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
That would include euthanasia or assisted suicide for mature minors who suffer from a non-terminal illness or disability, according to UNICEF Canada’s policy director Marvin Bernstein.
UNICEF, or United Nations Children’s Fund (originally, Emergency Fund) is a UN organization that is, according to its website, “on a mission to reach every child and ensure their well-being, no matter where they are in this world.”
“There’s no limit to the lengths UNICEF will go, the risks we’ll take or the depth of our commitment to save children’s lives,” it reads. “We are committed to take action, save, rehabilitate and watch over children, with a special attention to the most vulnerable and excluded groups.”
Bernstein reiterated UNICEF Canada’s pro-euthanasia position during the Senate legal committee’s hearings into the Liberal government’s controversial euthanasia law, Bill C-14.
The legislation amends the Criminal Code in light of the Supreme Court’s February 2015 Carter ruling, which ruled the current ban on assisted suicide and euthanasia violates the Charter, and comes into effect June 6.

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Elderly importers of lethal drug used in assisted suicide are getting pinged by Customs

By | Recent News 22 May 2016
Family First Comment: And so they should. Suicide is never the answer.
Elderly New Zealanders are falling foul of the law by being caught importing potentially fatal doses of Nembutal from China and Mexico.
Those who have had their shipment discovered at the border include one Nelson couple in their eighties who were visited and warned by the police, although no charges were laid.
New Zealand residents, mainly members of the voluntary euthanasia group Exit, have successfully brought in doses, enough for a couple to painlessly end their lives.
But others have had their shipment, typically coming in a small package, confiscated on arrival.
At a recent meeting of the ‘Nelson Options’ chapter of Exit, International European co-ordinator Tom Curran told the mainly-elderly attendees he was surprised Customs were seizing the drug so often.
“China is the most popular or common place for it to come from now, because it’s powder, and it comes in a flat pack just like a letter.
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Netherlands sees sharp increase in people choosing euthanasia due to 'mental health problems'

By | Recent News

The Telegraph 11 May 2016
Family First Comment: Shocking – but the law being proposed by ACT’s David Seymour will result in the same!
And then, read this……
“A Dutch psychiatrist who has carried out euthanasia requests at the country’s End-of-Life clinic said .. that even children as young as 12 who ask to end their lives should be taken seriously.”
Perhaps they simply need good counselling and to be given hope?

The Netherlands has seen a sharp increase in the number of people choosing to end their own lives due to mental health problems such as trauma caused by sexual abuse.
Whereas just two people had themselves euthanised in the country in 2010 due to an “insufferable” mental illness, 56 people did so last year, a trend which sparked concern among ethicists . euthanasia - Netherlands 2016 reported cases graph
In one controversial case, a sexual abuse victim in her 20s was allowed to go ahead with the procedure as she was suffering from “incurable” PTSD, according to the Dutch Euthanasia Commission.
But a Dutch psychiatrist who has carried out euthanasia requests at the country’s End-of-Life clinic said this week that psychiatrists are “too hesitant” about agreeing to euthanasia for patients with psychiatric diseases.
Paulan Stärcke, who will present her findings at the Euthanasia 2016 conference in Amsterdam Thursday, told The Telegraph that even children as young as 12 who ask to end their lives should be taken seriously.
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Sex abuse victim in her 20s allowed to choose euthanasia

By | Recent News

Daily Mail 11 May 2016
Family First Comment: No slippery slope? Yeah right!

A former victim of child sex abuse has ended her life under Dutch euthanasia laws because she could not live with her mental suffering.
The woman, in her twenties, was given a lethal injection after doctors and psychiatrists decided that her post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions were incurable.
It went ahead despite improvements in the woman’s psychological condition after ‘intensive therapy’ two years ago, and even though doctors in the Netherlands accept that a demand for death from a psychiatric patient may be no more than a cry for help.
The woman, who has not been named, began to suffer from mental disorders 15 years ago following sexual abuse, according to the papers released by the Dutch Euthanasia Commission. The timescale means she was abused between the ages of five and 15.
News of her death angered anti-euthanasia MPs and disability campaigners in Britain. One Labour MP said it meant sex abuse victims were now being punished with death.


Govt-funded euthanasia research paper is a “Shabby conclusion to a deceptive beginning”

By | Recent News

Care Alliance Media Release 10 May 2016
Family First Comment: Shocking. A government funded study designed to distort the euthanasia debate!
Matthew Jansen, Secretary of the Care Alliance, has questioned the value of a Government-funded study by University of Auckland researchers Phillipa Malpas and Pam Oliver into attitudes of New Zealand doctors and nurses to the legalisation of so-called ‘assisted dying’.
Last year Mr Jansen revealed that survey participants were not being told that Drs Malpas and Oliver were members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, or that the study was being funded by the Health Research Council.
“The paper they are now distributing is a shabby conclusion to a deceptive beginning” said Mr Jansen. “Their paper slices and dices the numbers in ways that are highly misleading to a casual reader. For example, a small print footnote says that responses from people who ‘strongly disagreed’ with legalising assisted dying were excluded from subsequent analysis. The views of 175 doctors and nurses suddenly disappear from consideration by that sleight of hand alone. That is why their statement that 37 percent of doctors ‘strongly or mostly’ agree with legalising ‘assisted dying’ is simply untrue.”
Mr Jansen also noted that the authors say the survey was anonymous, but then disclose that four days’ worth of responses were removed ‘due to notice of two faked responses by a TVNZ journalist’.  “Either it was anonymous or it wasn’t,” said Mr Jansen. “In fact, how do they know that any of the responses were done by doctors and nurses, and only done once per person?”
Mr Jansen said the report should be approached with intense scepticism. He noted, for example, the suggestion in figure 13 that 7.7 percent of doctors have hastened death by administering or supplying a lethal dose of medication is grossly misleading. “First, it is 12 out of 155 doctors, not the 368 doctors who completed the survey. Secondly, it appears to include medication given with the intention of relieving pain but that may have the effect of hastening death, which is standard, legal and ethical treatment right now.”
“Once again the euthanasia lobby is showing that it cannot be trusted with data and facts,” said Mr Jansen. “It’s all about scaring up some headlines, and hoping nobody digs deeper.  This whole taxpayer-funded exercise has been a shambles from beginning to end.”

Elderly suicide on mental health conference agenda

By | Recent News

NewsTalk ZB 9 May 2016
Family First Comment: And legalising euthanasia would simply make it worse.

We’re being told not to forget about the older community in a bid to prevent elderly suicide.
Elderly suicide is set to be discussed at a mental health conference attended by psychiatrists from New Zealand and Australia today.
Spokesperson for counselling service Relationship Matters Steve Taylor said elderly people often go into care and get visits from family once every couple of weeks.
He said this can make them feel lonely, helpless and without purpose.
“The more that a person loses their sense of hope and purpose then the less will they have to actually be able to contribute or go on living.”
He said when people grow older some people assume they don’t have much use anymore.
“They have a lot to contribute, particularly to the younger generation, and I think one of the key things we could do is have a situation where we could actually talk to a lot of people and say what is it that you would like to offer, what is that you would like to contribute and how can we help you do that.”
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Belgium Warns Canada: "Safeguards are an Illusion”

By | Recent News

When euthanasia laws were passed in 2002, Belgians were promised effective safeguards to protect the vulnerable. What has transpired since is nothing short of abuse, ignorance and a widening of the law. In this video, Belgian doctors, lawyers and advocates give a stern warning to Canada and to the rest of the world: when it comes to assisted death, government ‘safegaurds’ are truly an illusion – a door to abuse.