Killing people with disabilities? With love there should be no short-cuts

“I’d tell you I love you, but then I’d have to kill you” is the title of one of my favourite spy books. Who would have known that, in some countries, this phrase is becoming disturbingly real? Lately there has been a big push to allow parents to end the life of their own disabled children. Scary right? The Irish Socialist TD Clare Daly proposed that abortion be legalised to protect women’s rights. It’s worth looking at what this has led to elsewhere, because once you begin to attack the vulnerable, it’s hard to put a stop to the slippery slide.

Dr Phil – someone I would admire for some of his views on sex and marriage. – looked at ‘mercy killing’ recently on his popular TV show. It featured a woman who had a severely disabled adult son, whom she visited once a month. She felt that her son would be happier dead, and that if he was able to make the decision, he would choose suicide. She thought she should be able to make the decision for him.

Reading an article on the show left me almost in tears. My brother has severe epilepsy and autism, as well as moderate learning difficulties. Sure, he can’t read or write. He struggles to communicate with us. There was a time when he wouldn’t even look us in the eye, and he never smiled. Doctors told us he wouldn’t live to be seven. (He’s thirteen now) But did that make us love him any less? No. It’s hard, changing every aspect of your life so that he can live. But that’s nothing to the delight when he learns a new word, or sees a rainbow for the first time. Now, when listening to him laugh at the simplest of things, no one can say his life isn’t worth living.

Flash forward a few decades and see where this new form of ‘mercy’ might take us. You see a blind/deaf person walking in the street. They stumble and fall, or almost get knocked down by a bus. You feel sorry for them, they don’t have the same quality of life you do – at least you think so. And you think you should kill them; it’s perfectly legal to after all. And then you see a homeless person…

Crazy right? But did we ever imagine twenty years ago that in the UK eighty children would be aborted every year because they had something as minor and easily repaired as a club foot or a cleft palate. Aborted, rather than having a simple operation which, in India costs roughly £2.50 to carry out. Recently, the Journal of Medical Ethics carried an article telling us that there is no difference between killing an unborn baby and a newly born infant. Actually, I agree. It’s the complete acceptance of the killing in both cases by the authors of the article that I find disturbing.

One of my friends died recently. He had Cystic Fibrosis, and for the past year was unable to go to school. His death came as a shock to all of us. He had been on the waiting list for a lung transplant and we always thought he was going to make it through, but sadly he didn’t. His funeral was huge, with the whole year attending as well as the hundreds of other lives he had touched. There hasn’t been one day when I haven’t thought of him. But we would never regret knowing him. I want to be part of a world that cherishes my friend and my brother. Not one that sees them as being “better off” in a coffin.

Any mother or father in this situation should think about how their child would react if they understood what they were doing. It’s highly unlikely they would thank them for it. Imagine going up to your son/daughter/sister/brother and telling them you wished they were dead and you are planning to kill them?

Love, however hard, lasts forever – it’s meant to. And there shouldn’t be any short-cuts.

 

Author: Críostíona

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'Me?? I love writing and I love life. This blog is me living my dream and combining both. [:)] '

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