Assisted suicide would ‘alter the way we look at disability’

A businessman who was paralysed by an accident when he was a teenager has said legalising assisted suicide would be “very detrimental” to disabled people.

Adam Thomas now designs kitchens specifically for disabled people, but says that when he was younger he would have thought such a life to be impossible.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Thomas explained that introducing assisted suicide as an option would “change the way we look at disability”.

Influential

His comments come as Lord Falconer again attempts to introduce assisted suicide – although his Bill is unlikely to be passed into law.

Thomas, recently named in a list of Britain’s most influential people with a disability or impairment, was paralysed in a road traffic accident when he was 17.

He said as a teenager he could “absolutely” not imagine living life without control over his body.

Done so much

“Knowing the old Adam, there’s not a chance that I would have wanted to have lived this way”, he told BBC reporter Lesley Ashmall, but added “in the last 30 years I’ve done so much”.

His wife, Agnes Fletcher, is the Director of end-of-life think-tank Living and Dying Well. She also spoke out about the effects of introducing assisted suicide.

She said that law, policy and culture currently do not encourage or help people towards suicide and any movement to assisted suicide would be an “extremely profound change”.

Consequences

Lord Falconer’s latest attempt to legalise assisted suicide is his third effort to do so. However his Private Members’ Bill is unlikely to gain parliamentary time.

A Bill seeking to introduce assisted suicide is due to be introduced in the Dáil in the Republic of Ireland in the coming weeks.

A group opposed to the proposal has said evidence from other countries shows the consequences of such a change “are catastrophic”.

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