“These assumptions, which are grounded in ableism and associated stereotypes, have been decisively rejected by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” they said. “Disability is not a burden or a deficit of the person. It is a universal aspect of the human condition.”
Canada’s Bill C-7 was introduced in the country’s Parliament following the Quebec Superior Court’s 2019 ruling that the requirement of a “reasonably foreseeable death” to receive euthanasia was a violation of rights under the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The two plaintiffs in the case, Jean Truchon and Nicole Gladu, were both diagnosed with disabling conditions that are not terminal. Truchon received euthanasia in April, 2020.
All countries with legal active euthanasia—where a doctor can legally end a patient’s life at their request—have ratified the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, or its optional protocol.
The three experts also said that the elderly or disabled “may feel subtly pressured to end their lives prematurely” on account of “attitudinal barriers as well as the lack of appropriate services and support.”
Poverty, too, plays a role, as “the proportion of people with disabilities living in poverty is significantly higher” than those without disabilities, they said.
“People with disabilities condemned to live in poverty due to the lack of adequate social protection can decide to end their lives as a gesture of despair,” they said. “Set against the legacy of accumulated disadvantages their ‘architecture of choice’ could hardly be said to be unproblematic.”