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Document Type

Article

Abstract

This Essay considers the challenges to end-of-life decision-making that disability poses. I am perhaps an odd choice to offer the disability perspective on this or any topic, as I am able bodied and of sound mind, at least for the moment. For the past thirty years, however, I have puzzled over how people with disabilities experience the health care system in this country and how the health care system experiences people with disabilities.

This essay does two things. First, it briefly describes the nature of and basis for disability concerns about the liberalization of ending life decisions. This account is largely descriptive and explanatory, summarizing the reasons for the apprehension that many in the disability community experience surrounding treatment termination and physician-aided dying. I offer this account recognizing both that I am not a person with a disability and that people with disabilities have diverse views on these issues.

Second, this essay considers how recent conversations about racial justice issues in policing and criminal justice, promoted by the Black Lives Matter movement, among others, might offer parallels to the concerns of disability advocates. To my mind, these parallels help explicate the concerns of disability activists and reveal them as deeply imbued with social justice commitments