Human Exceptionalism

Suicide Preventers Ignore Suicide Promoters

I am disgusted with the suicide prevention community. Not because they want to prevent suicide–I’m all for it! 

But they are either cowards or derelict in their chosen calling. Rather than vocally confront assisted suicide advocates–who undermine the entire suicide prevention cause–most such organizations instead pretend the issue doesn’t exist.

This egregious omission allows suicide advocates to poison the cultural environment, a big reason, in my view, for the phenomenon that I call  ”invisible suicide prevention days.” 

Now, as a very radical euthanasia bill moves toward enactment in Quebec, the disability rights community has called out this dichotomy. From the Not Dead Yet press release:

The Québec Association for Suicide Prevention has launched its annual awareness campaign “You’re Important to Us” to draw attention to the 1,000 suicides that occur each year in the province.

Living with Dignity, which opposes bill 52, estimates that, within a decade, there could be 600-1,000 additional deaths per year should the euthanasia law be approved in February. Bill 52 was filed on June 12 of 2013 and would allow passive euthanasia (“continuous palliative sedation”) and active euthanasia (“medical aid in dying”) for Québec residents who have incurable illnesses and physical or psychological suffering.

An amendment to the bill requires that the person be at the “end of life,” though the term is undefined. “When such ‘benefits’ are only available to a particular group, what does that say about the value that society puts on our lives if we are old, ill or disabled?” she asks. Hasbrouck notes that, though more than 90% of suicide attempts fail, bill 52 would guarantee such wishes of ill and disabled people would result in death. “What about the right to cry for help?” she said.

So, I did a search of the Québec Association for Suicide Prevention website. Of course! There is not a single entry for either assisted suicide or euthanasia.

Why ignore active suicide promotion? Because it is controversial and standing against the agenda might affect funding? Perhaps. But perhaps the Association just doesn’t care much about the suicides of the seriously ill or disabled people.

If so, the group should change its name to The Quebec Association for the Prevention of Some Suicides.

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