Yesterday, the media reported that deaf Belgian twins requested and received euthanasia because they were going blind. Here is the NBC story on the case: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/14/16507519-faced-with-blindness-deaf-twins-choose-euthanasia?lite , along with commentary (in italics) from Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg, a disability rights activist who lives in Brattleboro, VT and sees clearly that the disabled would be among those most threatened by the legalization of assisted suicide here. We thank her for permission to publish it.
Jacqueline Herremans, a member of the Belgian Commission of Euthanasia, told RTL that they did meet the legal requirements as their suffering was grave and incurable. When they became blind as well as deaf, he said, they would not have been able to lead autonomous lives, and that with only a sense of touch they had no prospects of a future.”
This right here is why I work against legalizing assisted suicide. The definition of suffering has the potential to become synonymous with *any* disability. Rather than giving people the skills and support they need to continue to live meaningful lives — to have “prospects of a future” and to recognize that *everyone* is dependent on everyone else — the state simply offers them death. This is not the work of a just society.