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Disability group condemns call for legal killing of disabled people

8 June 2006

Disability group condemns call for legal killing of disabled people London, 8 June 2006 - No Less Human (NLH), the pro-life disability rights group, has spoken out against Professor Len Doyal who calls for non-voluntary active euthanasia (NVAE) to be legalised. Alison Davis, national coordinator of NLH, who is a full time wheelchair user, said "Professor Doyal says he favours death as a solution to human suffering whether or not the patient is competent to volunteer for it. Indeed, he says that life for profoundly disabled people 'can provide them with no benefit and can thus be said to have no value.' "Several members of NLH are profoundly disabled, and would fall into the category of those Professor Doyal wants killed. His comments are highly offensive to the families of these people, to all disabled people and to those who recognise our equal dignity and human rights. "Professor Doyal rightly notes that doctors are already killing profoundly disabled people by withholding or withdrawing assisted food and fluids, and that this is actually a form of euthanasia. What he fails to understand, however, is that this practice is the ultimate in fatal discrimination and should be stopped. "Professor Doyal recalls the 'Nazi murder' of incompetent children and adults in the past but in fact his own proposals are exactly the same. He claims that his motivation for killing incompetent people is 'compassion' but simultaneously says 'in the context of the national shortage of expert palliative care for competent patients ... what would be the moral point in expending such valuable resources on severely incompetent patients whose best interest will be served by a quick and painless death?' "He questions the sincerity of those who oppose medical killing on grounds including that of the 'slippery slope' and states 'Religious belief often fuels such dogma' as if only religious people oppose euthanasia. This is by no means the case. "Professor Doyal says 'It follows that such withdrawals [of life sustaining treatment including assisted food and fluids] are predicated on the judgment that death is a moral good for such patients. Since this is so there can be nothing morally wrong, and there should be nothing legally wrong, with intending actions or inactions which bring about this moral good.' This is tantamount to incitement to murder disabled people. "Professor Doyal seems to want to have it both ways. He speaks of people in 'permanent vegetative state' as 'lack[ing] the capacity to experience anything' but simultaneously speaks of 'patients who are experiencing ... physical and emotional suffering but who are too incompetent to be able to conceptualize ... a choice, much less demand it.' "Professor Doyal wants to kill us if we suffer and if we don't. His views are indistinguishable from those of the Nazis. 'Prejudiced' seems too kind a word."

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