Erik Leipoldt, Adjunct Lecturer from the Centre for Research into Disability and Society at WA’s Curtin University has provided what I would call, “expert testimony” on the relationship between euthanasia and disability.
Described by MercatorNet as, “One of the most eloquent voices on euthanasia in Australia”. Dr Leipoldt is also a quadriplegic. His paper Euthanasia in Australia: Raising a disability voice is a ‘must read’ for all politicians as well as those involved in public policy.
The Australian euthanasia debate is inviting us to conclude that lives lived with disability are often not worth living, while actual disability experience points to a contrary reality. Disability voices and perspective are seldom heard but are essential ingredients of a fully informed debate. Their experience shows that there is a social context within which requests for euthanasia arise, which calls for the best possible care and support. Set in that context, it is not possible to build any effective safeguards against euthanasia.
Dr. Leipoldt’s examination of issues facing those in our community living with disabilities in the context of a society that is as yet far from full inclusion and perhaps even further away from proper funding and support for disability advocacy, draws the only conclusion possible:
In case anyone thought people with disabilities were a ‘special’ group for whom we could perhaps craft exceptions in a euthanasia law, you are mistaken.
You can read the full text of Dr. Leipoldt’s paper at Australian Policy Online.