People don’t make the choice to die in a vacuum. Many of the worst parts of living with a disability — Isolation, being homebound, being a burden that family has to struggle to care for — those are all failures in disability service delivery, not things inherent to the condition.
Source: Sara Luterman of The NOS-Letter
But this concept of “dignity” still comes with an ableist miasma.
Remember that our judgments about the quality of life have nothing to do with the value of life.
By claiming there is no “quality of life” for a person who must have carers, who can’t work, or who may otherwise not be accepted by society, they also claim there is no value to their lives. However, if you talk to disabled and neurodivergent people, they don’t seem to be of that opinion. Not one bit.
Whatever our societal notions of quality are, they have nothing to do with how much a person values their own life or even how valuable their lives are to society.
A recent Jacobin article on assisted suicide—that doesn’t mention ableism by name once—has socialists sounding like capitalists, joined in ignorance of disability, neurodiversity, and the social model. A thread among disabled and neurodivergent people discussing the article brought to my attention these two videos on neoliberal eugenics that socialists and capitalists and all those in between need to view.
So much disability activism has to focus on proving our lives are valuable.
If I may jump back to babies, I think many parents, when they elect to abort disabled babies, do so because they had specific ableist ideas about who their child would be before it was ever born. They can’t live with the perceived loss of these imaginary opportunities.
Too many parents aren’t ready to change their conception of what a life “ought” to be and have a restrictive notion of parenting that doesn’t respect their child’s autonomy.
Truth, truth, and truth.
If a baby is born disabled (or LGBT), many parents think they must “mourn” the loss of hypothetical “perfect” child rather than accept their child for who they really are.
But if you’re killing an entire person to get rid of a non-communicable health condition, maybe think on why you’d feel the need for that. Is it for the good of the child? Is it for the greater good? How do you define that? Maybe it’s because our current system places greater value on a certain type of person? Maybe it’s because our system punishes you for not practicing eugenics by not providing a social safety net.
“Maybe it’s because our system punishes you for not practicing eugenics by not providing a social safety net.”
Oh how I feel that line. Our system forces you into continuous ableist dehumanization of yourself and your kids to access a bad semblance of the right to learn differently, work differently, and live differently. From selective abortion to assisted suicide, the process is cradle-to-grave.
What you can’t know unless you have #disability is how all the paperwork chips away at your soul.
Every box you tick, every sentence about your “impairment” and “needs” becomes part of the narrative of your identity…
— Gill Loomes-Quinn (@GillLoomesQuinn) April 9, 2018