Human Exceptionalism

Glad She Wasn’t Euthanized

This is a story that should receive much attention. Two years ago a woman with disabilities in India asked to be euthanized. But now, she is glad she is alive. From the story:

Two years back Seema Sood longed for death and had even petitioned the President of India for euthanasia. But hope triumphed over despair and today, walking with difficulty, but walking nonetheless, after a total knee replacement surgery, the Bits Pilani gold medallist is ready to take on life once again. The turnaround has been both spectacular and miraculous for the 37-year-old who lost all movement of her limbs for 15 harrowing years after a crippling attack of rheumatoid arthritis. The disillusionment was so intense that she wanted permission for mercy killing.
But that was then. “I regret the letter to the President,” she said, still frail and moving in tiny steps with the help of a walker. “Everything was so dark for me earlier, but I am excited about my mobility now and I am confident I will improve.”

It is important to note that if she had received her wish, as would be the case should euthanasia become deemed just another “medical treatment,” she wouldn’t have lived to change her mind. And while we were patting ourselves on the back about our compassion and respect for choices, we would be none the wiser that our tacit agreement that her life was only good for ending actually stole from her what would have been the rest of her life.

I would also add that people who become disabled often become despondent. But they also often don’t stay despondent: Regardless of whether they obtain increased mobility, within several years their rates of depression are the same as the rest of the population. But the message they receive from society too often is that being dead is better than being disabled–as a recent poll of Americans illustrated.

This is just one reason why disability rights groups are adamantly opposed to legalizing assisted suicide. In the end, among other anti-human equality values, it validates that destructive meme.