Marilyn Golden, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Berkeley
In a his opinion piece "Young should have option to decide about euthanasia" (Insight, Oct. 13), author Robert Leeson makes clear that cost should play no small role in deciding whether to end a life.
As a disability rights advocate and person living with a disability, these sentiments clash with my deep concern that assisted suicide is a direct threat to people living with disabilities as well as to society as a whole.
If calculating dollars and cents, it does not take an economist to realize the frightening prospect that assisted suicide is for people living with disability or serious illness; we are the logical target. It is because of this that many political progressives such as myself are opposed to the legalization of assisted suicide, not because of a deeply held religious conviction as the author naively suggests. Last year's defeat of an assisted-suicide ballot measure in Democrat-dominated Massachusetts was led by a broad-based coalition of progressives, disability rights organizations and nonpartisan medical associations.
A cost-cutting approach to the care of people with serious illness or disability is the worst kind of care. There is an active community of disability rights activists who have dedicated their lives to seeing that this kind of dystopian vision never has the chance to threaten a single person.
The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund is a leading national civil rights law and policy center. Our mission is to advance the civil and human rights of people with disabilities through legal advocacy, training, education, and public policy and legislative development.