A few years ago Stella Young interviewed me for a TV program on disability, following the release of my book Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics. I found her intelligent, articulate, feisty, charming, with a wild sense of humour. We had to keep stopping the interview because she made me laugh so much.
Here’s a powerful and poignant piece she wrote only a month before her passing.
By Stella Young
And so when people ask me why I am opposed to legalising assisted suicide, this is what I tell them: The medical industrial complex has an inaccurate, but incredibly powerful, view on my life. Disability is often framed, in medical terms, as the ultimate disaster and certainly as a deficit.
Indeed, some of my most profound experiences of ableism have taken place in the context of a hostile hospital environment…
Death is not treatment, even if it’s medically facilitated.
Doctors are not fortune tellers and neither am I. Having lived with disability since birth does not afford me immunity from illness. Of course, when the time comes, I would like a dignified death. But while I’m alive, I also want a medical profession that is just as willing to keep me alive as they are to assist me to die….
Conversations about dying with dignity are important. But we must first ensure we’re all able to live with dignity. Read full article
And this, Stella’s letter to her 80-year-old self
“… Mum and Dad, who never wanted me to be anything other than what I am. Who never expressed a scrap of disappointment that I wasn’t quite what they were told to expect. Who, despite being told not to have any more children because of the risk they’d have my condition, went on to have my two beautiful sisters. I think that’s the thing I love them for the most; that they didn’t see disaster, when those around them could speak of little else.” Read full article