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Are we better off dead than disabled?
The B.C. Catholic ^ | 12/12/11 | Rhonda Wiebe

Posted on 12/15/2011 3:58:50 PM PST by wagglebee

The perils of the social devaluation of people include legal assisted suicide and euthanasia

It is not uncommon to hear people without disabilities and people who have recently acquired a disability say they would rather be dead than disabled.

Although politically incorrect, embedded perceptions that life with disability is full of suffering and indignity promote the idea that it's a death sentence. Able-ist social conditioning equates disability with pain, frailty, incapacity, and poor quality of life. It views persons with disabilities as problems that need to be fixed.

The 'problem' of disability

I would argue the "problem" of disability lies more in external social, physical, attitudinal, and architectural barriers.

I am considered legally blind. If you hand me something in 12 point font, I can't read it. You might say I am disabled because I can't see. However, if you give me a document in large print, I no longer have a problem. An external change resolves a biological "shortcoming."

At times I use a wheelchair. I am "disabled" by the environment around me: stairs, curbs with no access cuts, and doors that don't open automatically. However, when changes are made externally, I become self-reliant.

Negative images devaluing persons with disabilities infiltrate literature, movies, news media, and television. We are portrayed, at best, as having lives no one wants, and at worst, as freaks or deviants. Rarely are we depicted as empowered people with much to contribute to the world around us.

Same rights

Unfortunately, many people who acquire a disability internalize able-ist perspectives. They see themselves as being of less value, rather than as people who have needs which, when accommodated, help them enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as every citizen.

Dignity and wellbeing are mistakenly equated with being able-bodied. Conversely, illness or disability is associated with lack of dignity. Dignity, a key component in actions before the courts that seek to legalize euthanasia, is often defined by the notion that something like incontinence indicates a lack of dignity because it is perceived as a loss of autonomy.

Although most people would not choose to be incontinent, toileting needs can be met through the assistance of another person or a disposable incontinence product. (Please note I'm not calling them diapers; infantilizing the people who use them only reduces their dignity.) Somehow needing help to go to the bathroom is considered to have a greater detrimental impact on dignity than relying on other supports.

Many people use eyeglasses. However wearing spectacles doesn't lessen one's dignity or even one's rightful place in the world. The need to don an invisible incontinence product, on the other hand, seems a good reason to encourage someone to end it all.

Permeating politics

Able-ist attitudes permeate our politics. Canada's current immigration policy restricts persons with disabilities from immigrating to our country. It could deny someone like renowned scientist Stephen Hawking an opportunity to immigrate to Canada.

I admire Hawking. He has not succumbed to the idea that because he has ALS he has nothing left to offer. If a man who has made such significant contributions can't "make the cut," what message does that send? It says we don't really belong because we're not able-bodied.

Medical practitioners are not immune from acquiring these negative perceptions.

Years ago I initiated a conversation with an endocrinologist about the possibility of pregnancy and how it would affect a woman with my disabilities. I wanted to have children, but also wanted to be responsible by getting fair and balanced information from an expert.

My doctor's response was something like, "If people like you stopped having children, we could eliminate this disease from the face of the earth within a few generations."

I don't know if he considered that eliminating "the disease" also meant eliminating people like me. For him, the problem was inside me, and following that logic, I was the undesirable component.

The unworthy are at risk

If we are tacitly acknowledged as unworthy, we are at risk. At times of fiscal restraint, we can experience discrimination when medical budgets are limited.

It's very difficult to access information about how health care resources are allocated, but there is much evidence to support the idea that they are determined by measuring our value using subjective criteria like "quality of life."

If medical practitioners don't have the direct experience of living with disability, and if they don't make extraordinary efforts to explore beyond the bio-medical models available in med student curricula, how can doctors ever have anything but an able-ist evaluation of someone's quality of life?

If our quality of life is viewed as being narrowed, we risk having our health options shrink. If our health options are taken away, or never presented in the first place, our very existence is threatened.

It is especially when we are coming to terms with new conditions, changing conditions, or physical and psychological pain that we need to be reminded that we matter, that we are worth something.

Our dignity is inherent

Our dignity is inherent. We have dignity because we are human. Our dignity is framed within the context of our sense of, contribution to, and interaction with our communities, not about what does or doesn't work in our bodies.

If Hawking can add value to our society, we all can. We are only limited by our able-ist imaginations.

If assisted suicide or euthanasia is legalized, it could be devastating for persons with disabilities. Medical practitioners might never question the desire of someone who has acquired a disability to be euthanized, because they wouldn't consider the possibility that the requester is experiencing difficulty adjusting to a difficult change.

Realistically, acquiring a disability is about living with loss, which often requires profound adjustment and supports, but so does losing a child. Do we hand grieving parents a hypodermic of lethal medicine and say, "This must be unbearable; here's a way to end your suffering"?

Suicide prevention

Canadians seem enthusiastic about promoting suicide prevention, but is that only for able-bodied people? When we face the social message that it's better to be dead than disabled, the option of assisted suicide and euthanasia, rather than providing supports to help us live fully, puts our very lives at risk.

Rhonda Wiebe is a disability rights advocate from Winnipeg. She co-chairs the Ending of Life Ethics committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and serves on the Board of Directors of Not Dead Yet. She has lived with a disability since she was 13.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 50mmisasackofshit; 50mmisgay; darkwing104isapos; darkwing104isgay; disabilities; eugenics; euthanasia; medicide; moralabsolutes; prolife; zot
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Our dignity is inherent. We have dignity because we are human. Our dignity is framed within the context of our sense of, contribution to, and interaction with our communities, not about what does or doesn't work in our bodies.

Exactly, dignity comes from God, it has NOTHING to do with how we look when we die.

1 posted on 12/15/2011 3:58:53 PM PST by wagglebee
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To: cgk; Coleus; cpforlife.org; narses; Salvation; 8mmMauser
Pro-Life Ping
2 posted on 12/15/2011 3:59:47 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: BykrBayb; floriduh voter; Lesforlife; Sun
Ping
3 posted on 12/15/2011 4:00:33 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: 185JHP; 230FMJ; AKA Elena; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; Amos the Prophet; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


4 posted on 12/15/2011 4:02:26 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

bump


5 posted on 12/15/2011 4:05:05 PM PST by presidio9 (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: wagglebee; All

I can speak from experience. Having led a very healthy, active, sporting, woodsman, life, then contracting severe bone cancer two years ago requiring major/readical surgery to survive. Three major surgeries, 3 mmonths in the hospital at MD Anderson in Houston, 3 more months of very intensive rehab to teach me to walk again.

I am now disabled and can hobble around, but will never run, jump, climb, etc. again, and my bowel and bladder functions are severely constrained requiring a very strict diet and very attentive monitoring to be able to even accomplish those basic functions.

Hundreds and hundreds (many right here on FR) prayed and followed my experience and stoory.

Prayers were answered...many hearts were touched.

I have now seen two more grandkids boorn, a son return from a foreign mission for our church, a daughter preparing to get married (our other two daughters and one other son already are married), and have been able to enjoy my grandkids so much.

Would I be better off dead? That’s God’s decision...not mine. I need to be a tool in His hand and help others, and witness to others...which is what I am doing now.

The inclination to allow assisted suicide and somehow say its okay for folks to just die is not an inclination or thought that comes from God. He is perfectly capable of taking us when our time comes in innumerable ways.

He wants us to have faith, to come to Him and His Son, and then to bear witness of Him in all circumstance and use our free will to live as long as we can and help others.

I know this to be true.

My Sacral Chordoma
http://www.jeffhead.com/chordoma.htm


6 posted on 12/15/2011 4:13:55 PM PST by Jeff Head (Liberty is not free. Never has been, never will be. (www.dragonsfuryseries.com))
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To: Jeff Head
Thanks for the post Jeff!

God bless you and your family and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

7 posted on 12/15/2011 4:18:41 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Jeff Head

Good stuff!


8 posted on 12/15/2011 4:21:34 PM PST by goseminoles
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To: Jeff Head
God Bless you Jeff.

My father is an esophageal cancer survivor with similar challenges.(Plus he is unable to lay flat, which compromises not only his sleep but any medical care as well). My girls were babies when he was diagnosed, and now they are on the brink of adulthood (18 next month), extremely grateful to have their Grandpa in their lives.

9 posted on 12/15/2011 4:30:43 PM PST by Mygirlsmom (If economists are such experts, why is everything always so unexpected???)
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To: wagglebee
I am a man with a lifelong disability as a result of a prenatal stroke. Because of this stroke I have very limited use of the left side of my body.

The disability is something I have, it is not something I am.

Over the decades (I am 65)I have had to deal with some very ignorant people and had the pleasure of knowing some very marvelous people - just like everyone else.

As a child growing up in the 1950s my parents taught me to become as self-sufficient as possible. If something doesn't work for me in the “normal” way I had to find another way to accomplish it. Learning to tie my own shoes was a toughie, but I did it.

I learned early to dwell on what I could do rather than on what I couldn't. I accepted early on that I would never be much of a pianist or learn to juggle, but I did learn to fly airplanes (single engine and sailplanes), drive cars in off-road rally competition, and be a pretty speedy one-handed typist.

I never let the disability I have decide for me how I was going to live my life. If I wanted to try something I found a way to do it. In college I discovered the theater. Forty years later I can point to a long list of credits in theater, films, more nightclubs than I care to think about and commercial voiceovers. I've written novels, plays, jokes for comedians and even a textbook used to teach traffic safety.

When I see stories about euthenasia of the disabled it makes my skin crawl because I know that they are talking about me.

If these people get their way in this world and “get rid” of those with disabilities then all of humanity will become a race of cripples.

10 posted on 12/15/2011 4:33:16 PM PST by Wordkraft
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To: Jeff Head

“...is not an inclination or thought that comes from God.”

Just today I was watching a homeless guy with a heavy pack and a cane slowing making his rounds of the dumpsters. I thought to myself what keeps that guy going? If it were me - I’d probably blow my head off.

Hopefully I would remember your sentiments above though. The kids and I were watching that zombie show on T.V., and the discussion of suicide came up - and they all thought they would kill themselves rather than to try to survive in a zombie infested place.

I explained to them that life always has its difficulties, and sometimes there seems like no hope, but there always is. And you fight for it and struggle for it. (”But dad - these are ZOMBIES!”)

Glad to see that you made it through all of your treatments so far from your home.


11 posted on 12/15/2011 4:33:36 PM PST by 21twelve
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To: Wordkraft
Thank you so much for your fantastic post!
12 posted on 12/15/2011 4:38:49 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee; Jeff Head

Hi, wagglebee and hello, Jeff Head. It’s great that Jeff’s back.


13 posted on 12/15/2011 4:49:37 PM PST by floriduh voter ( Obamacare is to you as a can of RAID is to a bug. R A I D !)
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To: Jeff Head
Hi Jeff. So good to see you back and posting again. I know MDAnderson was good to you, I hope Houston was good to your wife and family.
14 posted on 12/15/2011 4:58:29 PM PST by Ditter
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To: Wordkraft
When I see stories about euthenasia of the disabled it makes my skin crawl because I know that they are talking about me.

And me. And especially my husband. Of course, it made my skin crawl before we joined this elite group of "defectives," because even if it wasn't us, it was still real people they were threatening. If I can see that, why can't the euthanasists see it? I think their inability to see disabled people as real human beings makes them the true defectives. Oh, the irony!

15 posted on 12/15/2011 5:11:08 PM PST by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: Jeff Head

I’m happy to see you here, sharing the good news of God’s blessings. I hope he continues to bless you.


16 posted on 12/15/2011 5:13:46 PM PST by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: wagglebee

From conception to natural death — let us live our lives.

Pro-life bump, back at you!


17 posted on 12/15/2011 7:40:34 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Jeff Head

Here’s another side......

My MIL, a serious student of English History and literature, and former bank president, is now little more than a child in her dotage. Witnessing the agony of her daughters trying to cope with her declining mental/physical state is trying, to say the least !

How do you comfort a wife whose mother is little more than an infant ? A mother whose greatest pride was her mind, ( and her greatest fear was its loss) ?

And I’m facing the same issues myself, it seems !

So who “determines dignity” ? For my MIL, it seems it devolves upon her daughters. I can only be supportive. In my case, I’ve already made certain determinations based upon defined presenting conditions.

At some point we all must ask ourselves how much moral/ethical/legal burden are we willing to place upon our wives/husbands/children in these “end of life” decisions ?

>PS


18 posted on 12/15/2011 7:49:18 PM PST by PiperShade
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To: PiperShade; wagglebee

Are you suggesting that the solution is to kill her?


19 posted on 12/15/2011 8:53:54 PM PST by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: PiperShade

My own mother is in a home now, near us. She has severe dimensia and is 86 years old.

She can remember very little and is slowly forgetting even how to eat.

We love her, we visit her often. Generally she is happy.

I am thanksful she is still here and my kids and grandkids can go with me to visit her and I can tell them stories and show them pictures of how she used to be.

The timing, IMHO, of end of life (though we all must make decisions and arrangements regarding it) is and should be in God’s hands.


20 posted on 12/15/2011 10:24:12 PM PST by Jeff Head (Liberty is not free. Never has been, never will be. (www.dragonsfuryseries.com))
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To: Jeff Head

you are an excellent living witness to faith. Thanks for posting, and thanks for being.


21 posted on 12/16/2011 6:14:01 AM PST by CPO retired
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To: PiperShade; Jeff Head; Dr. Brian Kopp; trisham; DJ MacWoW; little jeremiah; Coleus; narses; ...
At some point we all must ask ourselves how much moral/ethical/legal burden are we willing to place upon our wives/husbands/children in these “end of life” decisions ?

So, you consider it a "burden" to care for a sick family member?

What would your preferred solution be?

Do you support euthanasia? YES or NO

I notice you just joined FR within the last year, perhaps you weren't aware that this is a PRO-LIFE forum.

22 posted on 12/16/2011 7:35:15 AM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: PiperShade

“At some point we all must ask ourselves how much moral/ethical/legal burden are we willing to place upon our wives/husbands/children in these “end of life” decisions ?”

I love the arrogance of your post. You start by saying “heres another side” like none of us have experienced anything like your situation. Lol! Think again.

I dont consider caring for an ill family member a moral/ethical/legal burden, and I will raise my daughter to feel the same. You need to check yourself. Sounds like you’re advocating the pillow treatment for your MIL.


23 posted on 12/16/2011 7:58:58 AM PST by surroundedbyblue (Live the message of Fatima - pray & do penance!)
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To: surroundedbyblue
The culture of death ALWAYS starts with the premise that pro-lifers have never had to watch a loved one suffer and die.
24 posted on 12/16/2011 8:06:05 AM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

Yes, that and their “duty to die/you’re a burden” crap they spoon feed to the chronically ill. Same old story every time

Moral relativism is such a sickness in our culture. I just pray these people are enlightened & see their errors.


25 posted on 12/16/2011 8:10:23 AM PST by surroundedbyblue (Live the message of Fatima - pray & do penance!)
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To: PiperShade
How do you comfort a wife whose mother is little more than an infant ? A mother whose greatest pride was her mind, ( and her greatest fear was its loss) ?

And I’m facing the same issues myself, it seems !

So who “determines dignity” ? For my MIL, it seems it devolves upon her daughters. I can only be supportive. In my case, I’ve already made certain determinations based upon defined presenting conditions.

And you propose what? Killing her as a solution?

At some point we all must ask ourselves how much moral/ethical/legal burden are we willing to place upon our wives/husbands/children in these “end of life” decisions?

Murdering an "inconvenient" person is moral?

It's not a moral burden to care for someone who is ill. It is a moral burden to have the murder of them on your conscience. Does that give dignity to a person, or just reduce them to a commodity that you dispose of when it's no longer useful?

26 posted on 12/16/2011 8:12:22 AM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: wagglebee

“Here is a test to find whether your mission here on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.”


27 posted on 12/16/2011 8:45:00 AM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: metmom

Well said! Bravo!


28 posted on 12/16/2011 8:54:24 AM PST by surroundedbyblue (Live the message of Fatima - pray & do penance!)
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To: PiperShade; wagglebee; metmom

I always say this to the pro-murder couched as death with dignity morons and they always chicken out:
Lead by example.

For some reason, they don’t want to.
They’re content to hold that idea until such time as their life is ‘inconvenient’ for someone else.
Until then, whenever someone is inconvenient to THEM, oops, oh well.
Right?
So stop couching murder in the name of personal convenience with flowery terms like “death with dignity” because there’s no such thing.


29 posted on 12/16/2011 9:17:22 AM PST by Darksheare (You will never defeat Bok Choy!)
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To: PiperShade; wagglebee; metmom

Wassa matta?
Kitty got yer tongue?


30 posted on 12/16/2011 9:28:19 AM PST by Darksheare (You will never defeat Bok Choy!)
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To: little jeremiah
“Here is a test to find whether your mission here on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.”

I LIKE that.

31 posted on 12/16/2011 9:38:03 AM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: Jeff Head

Thank you for sharing your story, Jeff. A blessed and Merry Christmas to you and your family!


32 posted on 12/16/2011 9:44:53 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Wordkraft; Mygirlsmom; BykrBayb; Jeff Head

Thank you for sharing your story, Wordkraft. Thanks to all of you.


33 posted on 12/16/2011 9:50:19 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: PiperShade
How do you comfort a wife whose mother is little more than an infant ?

********************************

When your wife was an infant, her mother cared for her. Should she do less? Our lives have a symmetry.

34 posted on 12/16/2011 9:57:15 AM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: metmom

I read it elsewhere just a day ago. I love it! Nice and precise.


35 posted on 12/16/2011 11:21:44 AM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: wagglebee
The culture of death ALWAYS starts with the premise that pro-lifers have never had to watch a loved one suffer and die.

Of course, because if we had, we'd all think like them, right?

How little they know.....

36 posted on 12/16/2011 12:07:06 PM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: Wordkraft
If these people get their way in this world and “get rid” of those with disabilities then all of humanity will become a race of cripples.

Well said! A disability of the body is external to our real selves, like wearing a torn shirt; crippled consciousness and conscience is infinitely worse in degree and in kind.

37 posted on 12/16/2011 12:14:21 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: trisham

But infants respond to mom’s affection ! >PS


38 posted on 12/17/2011 6:12:50 PM PST by PiperShade
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To: wagglebee

But in most cases we died long before degenerative disease presented ! Moreover, we lacked the means to prolong the lives of the afflicted for as long as is now possible.

In every instance there’s always cost/benefit ratio to be computed. Denying prolongation of respiration hasn’t a “cost” is pissing to windward with the expectation those to leeward will agree with the results ! >PS


39 posted on 12/17/2011 6:20:34 PM PST by PiperShade
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To: PiperShade; Dr. Brian Kopp; trisham; DJ MacWoW; little jeremiah; Coleus; narses; Lesforlife; ...
In every instance there’s always cost/benefit ratio to be computed. Denying prolongation of respiration hasn’t a “cost” is pissing to windward with the expectation those to leeward will agree with the results !

So troll, this is now the second post on this thread where you have endorsed death panels.

You have also refused to respond to any of the replies to your earlier disgusting post.

Free Republic is a PRO-LIFE forum and you are endorsing death panels for the elderly and disabled. You are clearly in the wrong place.

40 posted on 12/17/2011 6:33:54 PM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: PiperShade

zot


41 posted on 12/17/2011 7:45:18 PM PST by Jim Robinson (Rebellion is brewing!! Impeach the corrupt Marxist bastard!!)
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To: Jim Robinson

Thank you!


42 posted on 12/17/2011 8:08:01 PM PST by little jeremiah (We will have to go through hell to get out of hell.)
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To: Darksheare
So stop couching murder in the name of personal convenience with flowery terms like “death with dignity” because there’s no such thing.

Accurate. When you die your bowels and bladder let go, where is the dignity in that? Your mouth drops open and since you usually die on a inhale when they move you the air in your lungs is forced out past your vocal cords making a moaning sound. Death is not pretty.

I blame the movies for making death look "peaceful" and just like "going to sleep". It isn't. Our exit is every bit as messy as our entrance.

There is symmetry in that.

43 posted on 12/17/2011 8:21:02 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (*Philosophy lesson 117-22b: Anyone who demands to be respected is undeserving of it.*)
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To: wagglebee

Praise God.


44 posted on 12/17/2011 9:18:57 PM PST by onyx (PLEASE SUPPORT FREE REPUBLIC:DONATE MONTHLY! Sarah's New Ping List - tell me if you want on it.)
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To: Jeff Head

Blessed and Merry Christmas.

Praise God.


45 posted on 12/17/2011 9:20:17 PM PST by onyx (PLEASE SUPPORT FREE REPUBLIC:DONATE MONTHLY! Sarah's New Ping List - tell me if you want on it.)
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To: Jim Robinson
Thank you.

J

46 posted on 12/17/2011 9:42:51 PM PST by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: metmom

zot ping


47 posted on 12/17/2011 9:44:55 PM PST by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: PiperShade; 50mm

48 posted on 12/18/2011 6:13:21 AM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: BykrBayb; wagglebee

Thanks. I figured it was just a matter of time.

Especially for a troll who devalues life to a cost/benefit ratio....

It sure would be a bitter pill to swallow if those words come back to haunt them when someone is pulling the plug on them.


49 posted on 12/18/2011 6:17:53 AM PST by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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To: Jim Robinson
Thanks Jim!
50 posted on 12/18/2011 9:48:24 AM PST by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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