With all major disabilities activists' groups opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide, what is Dignity in Dying's new wing's real purpose?
Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick OBE, a longtime disability rights activist noted for his work with Not Dead Yet UK, recently published a critique of the newly established 'Disabled Activists for Dignity in Dying' (DADiD).
While all key organisations established by and for disabled people have continuously expressed their opposition to the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia, DADiD has been established by Dignity in Dying - the former Voluntary Euthanasia Society - itself, and is headed up by a pre-existing staff member.
Dr Fitzpatrick therefore questions "the legitimacy of this new group of disability activists on the basis that they do not represent disabled people but are self-appointed members of DiD who only represent themselves."
"why should DiD feel there is any need for a 'disability voice' FOR euthanasia? There is no special pleading necessary for disabled people under their proposed law... DiD have always claimed their campaign is not to change the law for disabled people, but is meant to help those with only a few weeks or months to live. Therefore, is DiD really a lobby for assisted suicide for all disabled people and sick people, rather than people who are very sick and soon to die?"
Dr Fitzpatrick points to the real dangers posed by existing laws abroad - to both disabled and non-disabled people - and finally poses the crucial question:
"DiD are promoting themselves as a caring organisation who offer the 'voice of reason'. They are using a handful of non-representative disabled people to promote the idea that disabled people agree with them. The facts do not support this assertion, real disabled activists are opposed to the law being changed and nothing I have read, seen or heard makes me think otherwise."
"So again, I find myself asking: what is their real purpose?"