chapter  37
14 Pages

Disability and Assisted Death

WithLESLIE P. FRANCIS, ANITA SILVERS

For the past quarter century, disability rights organizations have joined sanctity-of-life proponents so regularly in opposing the practice of helping people to die that such advocacy has become a hallmark of the organized disability movement. These disability activists have advanced political rather than theological considerations to the forefront of the debate. They have argued that practices permitting medical professionals to assist in enabling patients’ deaths unavoidably discriminate against people with disabilities, an especially vulnerable group (Coleman 2010). By advancing this argument, they give opposition to the practice of assisting dying additional weight by characterizing it as a violation of justice, and therefore as a collective political concern rather than as a violation of individual moral conscience.