People with disabilities, chronic illness and elders are the populations most directly affected by assisted suicide, euthanasia, and other end-of-life practices. Nearly everyone subject to such policies has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities. Yet the debate about these practices has gone forward without the point of view of disability rights advocates nor any recognition of the civil or human rights implications of these policies.
Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet is a project of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities to unify and give voice to the disability opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide. TVNDY is a progressive, non-religious organization consisting of persons with disabilities and supporters who oppose euthanasia, assisted suicide, and other end-of-life practices that threaten the civil rights of elders, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations. We assert that society’s goal of discouraging suicide – as manifest in laws, policies and programmes aimed at preventing suicide – should be applied equally to all, including people with disabilities. We hold that, in order for the promise of the charter of rights and freedoms and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to be realized, Canadians with disabilities of all ages must:
- Have adequate health and palliative care according to the needs of the individual;
- Have community supports to prevent institutionalization and end segregation and isolation;
- Have a reasonable standard of living;
- Be free from social, economic, physical, communication, political and institutional barriers to full participation and equality, and
- Be free from discrimination that devalues and threatens our lives.