The most robust opponents of assisted suicide–and the most effective in my view–are disability rights advocates. They understand well that legalizing assisted suicide is a gun aimed at their hearts. An opinion column by one Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun underscores the threat. He urges that the child murderer Robert Latimer be freed. Latimer killed his daughter Traci, because she had cerebral palsy. From the column:
Born with a severe form of cerebral palsy, his daughter Tracy was a 12-year-old who weighed barely 40 pounds, had no mobility, suffered unrelenting pain and endured five to six epileptic seizures a day. She had little more than a newborn’s consciousness. Doctors at the time of her death were preparing to install a permanent feeding tube in her stomach and to remove her thigh-bone to relieve the pressure on her hip, dislocated because of the metal rods already implanted in her spine to correct the damage done by her bedridden condition…
It was in the face of such circumstances that while his wife and other children went to church, Latimer carried Tracy to a pickup truck and ran a hose from the exhaust pipe into the cab. She died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Latimer was charged with first-degree murder and convicted of second-degree murder… In 1997, a second jury again convicted Latimer, but it recommended he be eligible for parole after a year. Juries at both of his trials were conflicted over what had happened and racked because of the empathy they felt for this man.
But our system got in the way of their humanism.
Monday-Friday Tracey traveled to school on a regular school bus and returned home at the end of each school day on the same bus as her siblings and other children — right up to the Friday before she was killed.)
Some comfort themselves with the false notion that the earlier slaughter was evil because it was Nazism, while the new support for killing people with serious disabilities is rooted in compassion. Wrong. Nazis did not force doctors into killing. Indeed, it was considered a compassionate “healing treatment.”