By Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick (OBE). Article first appeared on Alex Schadenbergs Blog.
The Supreme Court of Canada judgment confirms what people with disabilities have always known - assisted suicide and euthanasia (AS/E) are fundamentally rooted in the most heinous discrimination against disabled people - discrimination to death.
The assisted suicide lobby in the UK, as in Canada today, has scorned this idea, without rationale. There are terrible purposes at work. The press to legalise assisted death only thinly veils the view that the lives of people with disabilities are not worth living.
The evidence is overwhelming and was, long before a Belgian government adviser angrily stated at a public debate in November 2013, that a man with no arms and no legs should want to die - and flaunted his 'life's mission', to facilitate such wishes. We knew the root of his hatred is seeing disabled lives as worthless, to be disposed of at the point of a needle. When his doctor colleague openly linked Belgian euthanasia law with world over-population, Hannah Arendt's words came back to haunt us: they do not want to share the Earth with us.
Arendt was speaking about Eichmann's trial, as she reflected a truth: it was small steps taken in the late 19th century that were fostered, bolstered and implemented by doctors, leading to the program of euthanasia which ended in Auschwitz. Those steps included the application of the new branch of mathematics called statistics in connection with eugenics, the ends were catastrophic. Someone might have argued, once, that no-one could have foreseen such consequences. We have no such excuse today.
We know that the German judicial system was central to the purpose too, setting up 'medical tribunals' to decide which 'useless mouths' to eliminate. Those quasi-legal judgments created conditions in which it became acceptable, as it has now, for non-disabled people to consider disabled people as candidates for death.
So we know that an easy descent into evil is achieved through the pretence of banality, the insistence that this is a matter of compassion, logic. They say it is not misplaced pity. I agree; it is so much worse.
They want to rid the world of disabled people whom they fear, who disgust them, who cost money and resources. It is the coldest calculation based on the deepest prejudices. And as before, it may begin with disabled people but it will never end there. What Canadians are getting now will wreak their own destruction in time.
We know the program began with, and led to the murder of more than a quarter million disabled people, including very young children. We know where this judgment will lead, if it is not defeated.
The Canadian Supreme Court has fallen into the most frightening collusion with twisted ideals. The threat is not confined only to disabled people, although we are presently the most at risk. Every Canadian citizen is at risk from this judgement. Never more than now has solidarity between disabled and non-disabled people been so vital, for all our lives, for all of our societies.
We could not frame that argument in the early part of the twentieth century; we did not have the concepts. We still spoke of mentally disabled people as 'idiots' and locked them up with other disabled people. We had hoped we inhabited a more enlightened world by now, but this is no longer a slippery slope - this is a jump from thirty thousand feet without a parachute. There is only one outcome and that is threatening not just disabled people but every citizen.
Canadians must not sleepwalk into this change. Resist, for us, for your non-disabled selves, for our children, for our way of life. Together, for all our sakes.
Kevin Fitzpatrick is a spokesperson for Not Dead Yet - UK and the Director of EPC - International.