John Kelly of Massachusetts Second Thoughts posted an interesting Facebook comment on the article linked below. True Dignity shared it on its Facebook page.
His point, that “indignity”, the opposite of dignity, is defined ed by many people who commit suicide legally under Oregon’s law as “needing help”. We all need help. Some people with disabilities need help with the most intimate daily activities yet they lead meaningful lives, lives of giving to others and lives of personal enjoyment.
John objects to a NY Times article describing the life of Brooke Hopkins, whose wife, Peggy Battin, is one of the leading proponents of assisted suicide in the US, and who was a quadriplegic, in extremely pejorative terms. The article’s author wondered why his wife wouldn’t let him go, and some commenters called his decision to live selfish.
Kelly calls Hopkins’s death after his life support was removed two weeks later a suicide.
Though some people who fight against assisted suicide have said Hopkin’s death was not one, we agree with John. Hopkins was not dying when his life support was removed. If his death had been inevitable and imminent, and if the life support itself had caused him great discomfort, the removal of the life support could have been justified. None of these conditions existed. The life support was removed because he decided he wanted to die. That he made this decision two weeks after the Times had described him as a “plugged in manikin” and “inert sack of a body” is proof of how deadly the pressures exerted by societal approval of assisted suicide can be for people with disabilities.