Comments on: Amanda Baggs, the Pressure To Die, and the Case Against Assisted Suicide Changing the Cultural Conversation Wed, 01 May 2013 00:45:58 +0000 hourly 1 By: sanda aronson sanda aronson Tue, 09 Apr 2013 11:22:55 +0000 Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg, thank you. My spirit of my frim Bubbie, Ruchel (Rachel was only used on her citizenship papers and death certificate), hovers- she was my teacher of righteousness.

Stephen Drake posted an excerpt and link on Not Dead Yet to here. I’m almost afraid to use words after reading so powerful a blog entry as you have done. (I’m too ill, CFS/ME, to do a blog. I use comments, mainly on NDY and a small newsletter, a monthly report, to artists who are disabled in a small support group since April 1985.)

Other disability/human rights activists have pointedly asked, What other group is urged to kill themselves? Recently, on Stephen Drake’s list of entries on NDY is the story of Iraq War vet Tomas Young, the calling him of a “hero” by Phil Donahue, and the media bandwagon, for promising to do “assisted suicide” in the “next few months” in a hospice (I never before heard of a hospice, which has agreed to allow Young to starve himself, for someone not “terminal”). He is an example of the failure you mention in your piece. The society bemoans the suicides of U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan war vets, yet the severely disabled Young is cheered to death.

Again, thank you. Some of us sure make beautiful noise.

By: Doremus Doremus Mon, 08 Apr 2013 23:51:03 +0000 In fact, I think that the very reason that people put assisted suicide on the table at all is that they know the kind of treatment in store for them if they become ill or disabled. It’s not really illness or disability they fear, because it’s entirely possible to live a very good life with illness and disability in it.

I think it very rarely profits any exchange of opinions to expound upon the “true motivations” of the opposite part. If you want others to respect your capacity for independent self-determination – regardless of what “impairment” or “disability” they might assign to you – you should accord them the similar courtesy, and assume that their stated motivations are, in fact, genuine.

I have no difficulty at all imaging a condition where my life – even with the finest, tenderest care and assistance that anyone could wish for, even surrounded by friends and loved ones – would be such continuous agony and tribulation, and any moments of pleasure or meaning so vanishingly few and far between, that I would prefer death and oblivion to continued life.
As an atheist, I believe that my life is fundamentally my own property to do with as I will – including to end it if I choose to do so, and that it is morally and ethically right to assist another person in doing this if that is their free, informed decision. I believe that mastery over your own life and existence to be a fundamental expression of personal dignity – and that people may be able to face and endure more pain and trials than they could have imagined if they know that option to end it will always remain available to them; rather than feeling they must take this step prematurely to avoid being deprived of the choice later.

And I will never, ever, so help me God, support any legalization of assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Because, as RCR writes, there are – or rather were – countless Amandas out there that didn’t have her personal strength and support network, and that had their lives – lives that still had the capacity for meaning, and joy, and hope – cut short by an attitude so callously cynical that it doesn’t even deserve the name of paternalism. With all the people out there who worry about being a “burden” on their family, their friends, or society, we can’t afford to allow even the tiniest shred of a hint that euthanasia is a valid response to these worries or pressures, or that the quality of their lives is to be weighed on a scale against the cost of maintaining that life. The profound injustice done to those patients denied the chance to end a life that has become meaningless to them is the price that must be paid in order to avoid the far greater injustice – and the potentially corrosive effects upon society as a whole – of a system that formalizes, regulates, and thereby, if only implicitly, normalizes a choice that should only ever be made in extremis, and never, ever, as a consequence of outside pressure.

By: Restless Hands Restless Hands Sun, 07 Apr 2013 06:01:06 +0000 Thank you so much, Rachel. I’ve been meaning to write a post about this, but I may just link to this instead– you’ve said almost exactly what I would. There’s also a wonderful section about this topic in Nancy Mairs’ “Waist High in the World” that I may try to link here when I have more spoons.

By: Allen Coffman Allen Coffman Sun, 07 Apr 2013 03:08:56 +0000 There is no free choice. There are always cost to be accounted and balanced. The quandary is the scale measuring the cost and whats in the bank.

By: Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg Sun, 07 Apr 2013 03:03:00 +0000 Alexander, I’m well aware of the details of what’s happened. The purpose of this post wasn’t to cover everything that’s wrong with Amanda’s treatment. The focus of this post was on the pressure to die and the assisted suicide question. If you’re looking for a post covering all the details, you’re looking in the wrong place. Everything that has happened is so unutterably painful to me that I couldn’t possibly write that post right now. It’s taken just about everything I have today to write this one.

By: Alexander Cheezem Alexander Cheezem Sun, 07 Apr 2013 02:49:08 +0000 Let’s not forget… oh… their behavior on her initial admission (which involved a fight), what they did with the operation itself ( ), or the postoperative “care” (e.g., ).

This blog post barely scratches the surface on what’s wrong with Amanda’s treatment.