Finally: The Mainstream Media Recognizes the Disabled Community's Role in Stopping Assisted Suicide
This L.A. Times story is relatively shallow in its analysis, but at least it finally highlights the crucial part played by disability rights activists in fighting assisted suicide. From the story:
Many disability rights activists contend that the increasingly cost-conscious healthcare system, especially health maintenance organizations, inevitably would respond to legalized suicide by withholding expensive care from the disabled and terminally ill until they chose to end their lives. "HMOs are denying access to healthcare and hastening people's deaths already," said Paul Longmore, a history professor at San Francisco State and a pioneer in the historical study of disability. "Our concern is not just how this will affect us. Given the way the U.S. healthcare system is getting increasingly unjust and even savage, I don't think this system could be trusted to implement such a system equitably, or confine it to people who are immediately terminally ill." Longmore was stricken with polio in 1953, when the Salk vaccine, which would eradicate the disease, was first undergoing clinical tests. Now 60, he has limited use of only one hand and is dependent on a portable ventilator for breathing. Disabled people, Longmore said, "probably even more than most other citizens, understand the kind of suffering and needless pain that's inflicted on a lot of people and leaves some of them to prefer to die when they can't get the help they need."There is much more to the disability rights' brief against assisted suicide than that: For example, they point out that the reasons people commit assisted suicide according to the Oregon reports--loss of enjoyable activities, fears over loss of dignity or dependence--are equally applicable to people with disabilities. They also observe that Kevorkian was assisting the suicides mostly of disabled people--to general societal applause. Indeed, it was this horrific realization that brought them riding to the rescue just at the moment when it seemed that assisted suicide legalization would sweep across the nation. Moreover, disability rights activists point to places like the Netherlands and Switzerland where not only the physically disabled but the mentally ill have access to assisted suicide.
It is so typical of the MSM, and reflective of its deep bias in covering
this issue, that the story would express surprise at the opposition
of disability activists to legalization of assisted suicide and that the subheadline would strongly imply that their position is somehow contrary to their usual support for "individual liberty." But let's give credit where credit is due: At last the media may be waking up and smelling the coffee.