Laws permitting euthanasia have not passed in some of our most liberal states. One reason has been opposition to such legislation by those with disabilities. Albert Mohler explains:
Once a society adopts a right to die as a matter of policy, a duty to die cannot be far behind. This logic is already evident when it comes to babies born with Down syndrome. Among many doctors and ethicists, the question has shifted from the right of parents to abort a baby diagnosed with Down syndrome to a duty to abort.A Threat to the Disabled . . . and to Us All
These doctors and ethicists frame the question this way: What right do you have to bring such a child into this world when we already face huge social costs of health care and face scarce resources? This is the logic of the Culture of Death, but it is a logic now argued rather openly.
Disability rights activists understand that this same logic threatens persons with disabilities. When does the argument for a right to die morph into an argument for a duty to die? The question is not merely a matter of intellectual interest. It is a question of life or death.
The Los Angeles Times reports that a bill modeled on the Oregon legislation failed to make it out of a General Assembly committee in June. As the paper explained:Many disability rights activists contend that the increasingly cost-conscious healthcare system, especially health maintenance organizations, inevitably would respond to legalized suicide by withholding expensive care from the disabled and terminally ill until they chose to end their lives.Paul Longmore, a history professor at San Francisco State University, argued that assisted suicide would lead to inequities and would not be limited to those with a terminal illness. "Our concern is not just how this will affect us. Given the way the U.S. healthcare system is getting increasingly unjust and even savage, I don't think this system could be trusted to implement such a system equitably, or confine it to people who are immediately terminally ill." [more]