by NZ CATHOLIC staff
Not Dead Yet Aotearoa, a new voice for disabled people in euthanasia and assisted suicide issues, was launched on February 19. The organisation speaks up for the equal value of disabled lives.
This launch is timely, said Not Dead Yet (NDYA) convener, Wendi Wicks. “We want to be a key voice in the debates that are so important to us. Our community’s concerns about the consequences of such legislation haven’t been well heard to this point.
“Disabled people want to have a good life. But too many of us lack the basic choices that our human dignity demands. That means many of us don’t feel at all secure and valued equally. But, ironically, society will happily provide us with the choice to die!”
NDYA member Huhana Hickey added, “We’re seen too much in medical and deficit terms, with an
undue emphasis on the unbearable pain and suffering associated with disability. We’re seen as costly, too, a drain on scarce public resources.”
The group said in a statement that their lives are already at greater risk when people think they don’t need to live and put “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) notices in their medical files without their consent.
Ms Hickey said: “In these kinds of situations, free and informed consent is a travesty — and in our key relationships with health professionals and service providers we are too often at their mercy because of their power over our lives. So we find ourselves on the back foot, in an incredibly difficult place.”
The group stressed people need to hear other views on this issue so they realise how much laws that pave the way for individual choices to die can put the human rights of a community like theirs at risk.
NDYA said that as part of an international movement of disabled people in disability organisations opposed to euthanasia laws, it is looking forward to putting its views before the New Zealand public, who deserve the full story.