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No law should imply you’re better off dead than disabled

I recently completed a consent form for major surgery. There was no tick box asking if I wanted to be helped to die. The assumption was that, my disability notwithstanding, I wanted to live. Tomorrow’s amendment to the Health and Care Bill threatens that consensus.

The insidious assumption that it is better to be dead than disabled increasingly permeates our debates. This amendment would enable it to inform our law. Its implications scare me to death. The amendment would compel the government to table legislation that would “permit terminally ill, mentally competent adults legally to end their own lives with medical assistance”. Doctors would be expected to give us lethal drugs for suicide; they would go from saving people’s lives to helping to take them.

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