Incapacity Can’t be Grounds for Voluntary Euthanasia| Nationwide Catholic Register

The United Nations Human Rights Bureau said bills to extend euthanasia to people with disabilities “would institutionalize and legally approve capacity-consciousness.”

MANHATTAN – A disability rights organization commended the United Nations human rights experts for condemning voluntary euthanasia due to disability.

On Monday, three UN human rights experts issued a joint statement condemning the “growing trend” of countries extending legally assisted suicide to include people with disabilities who do not have an incurable disease.

They added that disability “should never be a reason or justification to end one’s life, directly or indirectly, and that a government”[u]Under no circumstances should this help a person with a disability who is not dying to end their life.

In response, Diane Coleman, president of the disability rights organization Not Dead Yet, praised UN officials’ decision.

“Every major national disability group in the United States that has spoken out on assisted suicide laws is against it for compelling reasons expressed by the United Nations Office of Human Rights,” Coleman told CNA on Wednesday.

In parts of Western Europe, it is legal for disabled people who are not terminally ill to apply for and receive euthanasia. Canada is currently considering Bill C-7, which would allow those who do not have a “reasonably foreseeable” death to receive euthanasia.

Coleman praised UN officials for defending the dignity of people with disabilities.

“As the statement goes,” Disability should never be a cause or justification to directly or indirectly end someone’s life, “and we agree,” she told CNA.

Coleman noted that the statement made no mention of terminally ill people seeking to end their lives “seeking assisted suicide primarily because of disability-related concerns,” such as loss of autonomy.

“People with advanced terminal conditions are a subset of all people with disabilities,” Coleman said. “So I really think the concerns raised by the UN Human Rights Office are general.”

The three UN experts who made the joint statement are Gerard Quinn, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of People with Disabilities; Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights; and Claudia Mahler, independent expert on the exercise of all human rights by older people.

The United Nations Human Rights Bureau said bills to extend euthanasia to people with disabilities “would institutionalize and legally approve capacity-consciousness.”

Quinn, De Schutter and Mahler warned that the normalization of euthanasia for people with disabilities who are not terminally ill would be based on “making assumptions about the inherent” quality of life “or” value “of the life of a person with a disability”.

“These skill-based assumptions, and related stereotypes, have been strongly rejected by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” they said. “Disability is not a burden or a deficit on the person. It is a universal aspect of the human condition. “

Canada’s C-7 Bill was introduced in the country’s parliament after the Quebec Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that requiring a “reasonably foreseeable death” to receive euthanasia was a violation of rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the country.

The two plaintiffs in the case, Jean Truchon and Nicole Gladu, have both been found to have disabilities that are not fatal. Truchon received euthanasia in April 2020.

All countries with legally active euthanasia, where a doctor can legally end a patient’s life at the request of a person, have ratified the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities or its optional protocol.

The three experts also said that elderly or disabled people “may face subtle pressures to end their lives prematurely” due to “hiring barriers and a lack of appropriate services and support.”

Poverty also plays a role, as “the proportion of people with disabilities who live in poverty is significantly higher” than those without disabilities.

“People with disabilities who are doomed to live in poverty due to lack of adequate social protection can choose to end their lives as a sign of desperation,” they said. “Given the legacy of accumulated drawbacks, their ‘architecture of choice’ can hardly be described as unproblematic.”

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