Incapacity rights advocate opposes increasing help in dying

In February 2021, the Senators voted to amend and expand Canada’s euthanasia law. If Bill C-7 passes, it will extend access to euthanasia to excruciatingly suffering people who are not near the natural end of their lives. Disability rights advocates say the bill sends the message that living with a disability is a fate worse than death.

This is an open letter to parliamentarians about this perspective.


I am a disabled academic. I have four university degrees. I am very happily married and have a great job.

I have campaigned for disability rights all my life.

We live in a time when people with disabilities recognize more human rights than ever before at national, national and international level. I live in a city that is the cradle of the disability rights movement. Still, as an individual, I’ve never felt so vulnerable.

Disability is no worse fate than death– Nancy Hansen

Bill C-7 makes me sick to the core and questions my worth and validity as a person. It is a substantive manifestation of the preliminary nature of my social positioning – which can be swept away immediately.

Ableism seeps through just below the surface.

Much of what is “known” about disability in the public domain stems from myth, misunderstanding, fear and ignorance. Disability is no worse fate than death. Why is it easier to get medical help in dying than support and services to live in dignity in many countries?

We need to go beyond the simplified, one-dimensional understanding of disability– Nancy Hansen

There’s more than a little irony here. “Justice, Diversity and Inclusion” is not a simple phrase. It takes work and a serious change of perspective. It is certainly not a quick road to death.

Bill C-7 in its current form sets the stage for another judicial challenge.

It’s 2021 and it’s deeply disturbing that I have to justify my existence. We need to go beyond the simplified, one-dimensional understanding of disability.

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