Belgian Paralympian wants Euthanasia… but not yet.

The BBC report the case of Marieke Vervoort who has a degenerative muscle disease and won silver in the 2016 paralympics. She has made it clear that she wants Euthanasia in the future, at the time of her choosing. This is an example of the Extended Advance Decision idea being proposed by MDMD.

How assisted dying might affect disabled people has been a long standing concern of those opposed to a change in the law. In Belgium, which has the one of the most liberal assisted dying laws in the world, there is no suggestion that Marieke Vervoort, is either “vulnerable” or has been pressured into her view, which comes from the fact that she “suffers from a degenerative muscle disease that causes constant pain, seizures, paralysis in her legs and leaves her barely able to sleep.”

However, comedian and disability rights activist Liz Carr, responding in the Guardian, accuses the right-to-die movement of encouraging disabled people to end their lives. “Rather than telling us we have everything to live for – and we do – we are helped to the proverbial cliff edge and offered a push.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Right-to-die campaigners support everyone, regardless of age or disability, to live as long, as full, and as enjoyable a life as they can. It is only when someone finds their quality of life permanently below the minimum level they are able to tolerate that assisted dying should be an option – and only an option – after long and careful consideration by the person them self. Why should any of us be forced to continue our life, against our carefully considered wishes, when our situation is incurable, and for us, intolerable? This is especially true in the case of someone like Marieke Vervoort who has put on record her wish that when the time is right for her, she would like euthanasia. This demonstrates that she has carefully weighed up the issues and that, for her, for now, she has decided her life is still worth living. Fortunately for her she lives in a country humane enough to give her the “good death” she seeks, when she wants it. In the UK neither abled nor disabled people are treated with that compassionate respect.