This article is by Nate Herpich on behalf of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center (PRC).The PRC is a national resource which provides a road map of complimentary services and programs to empower individuals living with paralysis.With the movie, “Me Before You” coming out, the topic of assisted suicide seems appropriate.
As I sat there in my wheelchair, I scanned over the reasons and was blown away by the fact that there were quadriplegics, and I was even more shocked to see paraplegics.
I was an arrogant, new spinal cord injury who was enraged that someone would give up on life because of the exact same ailment as myself.
I felt anger that I was a qualifying patient just by being a spinal cord injury, but it was more that society supported that position.
In some states, if an abled-bodied individual expresses a desire to commit suicide they are subject to a non-voluntary 3-day hold at a psych ward.
You can read more about assisted suicide laws here.
If a person with a spinal cord injury expresses a desire to commit suicide, everyone understands. It shouldn’t be easier and cheaper to kill yourself than to acquire a new wheelchair, but that’s often the case.
In my childhood, I went to a Missionary Baptist Church that was completely against any type of “murder” whether it be compassion killings or abortions, in God’s eyes it was all the same.
Therefore, I grew up analogizing Hitler, who killed off people with disabilities without their consent, and Dr.
Kevorkian, who was helping patients who begged for death and made that choice for themselves.