Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet is a project of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities to unite and give voice to the disability rights opposition to assisted suicide, euthanasia, and other end-of-life practices that discriminate against people with disabilities, elders and other vulnerable populations. TVNDY is a progressive, non-religious, grassroots organization of disability rights activists, formed in response to the increasing popularity of – and push for laws allowing – assisted suicide and euthanasia in Québec and all of Canada. TVNDY brings a disability-rights perspective and awareness of the effects of these practices to the debate around end-of-life issues. TVNDY works to educate, support, coordinate and lead the disability community’s effort to stop the “right to die” from becoming a duty to die or a right to kill.
ASSISTED SUICIDE/EUTHANASIA: What’s disability got to do with it?
- Everyone subject to assisted suicide / euthanasia has a disability.
- The reasons most often given for requesting assisted suicide concern disability, rather than dying.
- Newly-disabled people are most vulnerable to devaluation, pressure and coercion.
- People with disabilities face life-or-death situations on a regular basis.
- People with disabilities have historically been silenced, excluded, segregated and subjected to eugenic policies (e.g. forced sterilization, medical experimentation, deprivation of language rights and extermination).
- People with disabilities are a disenfranchised group facing legal, social, economic and political discrimination.
- There would be no proposals for euthanasia or assisted suicide without discrimination and negative beliefs about life with a disability.
- Cost-cutting pressures in health care and home care turn deadly with the introduction of physician assisted suicide (PAS).
- Palliative care + the right to refuse treatment = self-determination
- PAS discriminates against people with disabilities.
- Non-disabled people are offered suicide prevention. People with disabilities are offered assisted suicide.
- Suicide prevention may be imposed involuntarily…why doesn’t this happen before PAS is completed?
- In general, suicide attempts have a failure rate of 90% or more. Assisted suicide guarantees a success rate of 90% or more. (Suicide is usually a “cry for help”; most people don’t intend to complete the act. Why are people with disabilities being denied the chance to express the extreme distress they may be facing?)
- For elders and other vulnerable groups, PAS can make abusive situations lethal.
- Safeguards don’t work:
- Mental health evaluations for depression or other treatable causes of suicidality are rare and/or not required.
- If a doctor won’t write the prescription, the person or family can simply find another doctor. They often do. (This practice is known as “doctor shopping.”)
- Misdiagnosis is common, exposing people unnecessarily to assisted suicide.
- Nothing in the law protects people from financial or emotional pressure that may influence their choice.
- Assisted suicide laws allow death certificates to list a disease or medical condition as someone’s cause of death. These laws rely on voluntary reporting. They also lack oversight, enforcement, investigation of violations, and verification of data about the deaths.
“WE DON’T HAVE TO DIE TO HAVE DIGNITY!”
“SUICIDE PREVENTION FOR ALL!”
“HELP US TO LIVE BETTER, NOT TO DIE!
“DISABILITY IS NOT A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH!”
“WE ARE NOT DEAD YET!”