Forces of coercion and the “right to die”

In the New York Times, a writer with personal experience of lifelong disability warns against the spreading legalization of assisted suicide:

Perhaps, as advocates contend, you can’t understand why anyone would push for assisted-suicide legislation until you’ve seen a loved one suffer. But you also can’t truly conceive of the many subtle forces — invariably well meaning, kindhearted, even gentle, yet as persuasive as a tsunami — that emerge when your physical autonomy is hopelessly compromised.

Advocates of Death With Dignity laws who say that patients themselves should decide whether to live or die are fantasizing. Who chooses suicide in a vacuum? We are inexorably affected by our immediate environment. The deck is stacked.

This is eloquent and disturbing first-hand testimony of our society’s growing tendency to define and prize “quality of life” at the expense of life itself.

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