Earlier this week, a group of UN human rights experts expressed concern at a growing trend to enact legislation enabling access to assisted suicide/euthanasia based largely on having a disability or disabling conditions, including in old age.
Commenting from Geneva, the UN experts said:
“We all accept that it could never be a well-reasoned decision for a person belonging to any other protected group – be it a racial minority, gender or sexual minorities – to end their lives because they experience suffering on account of their status”.
“Disability should never be a ground or justification to end someone’s life directly or indirectly”.
While the statement from these experts is a welcome development, it is silent on the human rights violation and disrespect for human life that happens when laws permitting assisted suicide/euthanasia on other, non-disability related, grounds are introduced.
Any law permitting assisted suicide/euthanasia can place just as much pressure on people in vulnerable situations to ends their lives, whether the law explicitly mentions their particular situation or not. Once laws permitting assisted suicide/euthanasia are introduced, even on supposedly restrictive grounds, it very quickly expands to cater for additional grounds.