Content warning: mental health struggles, suicidal ideation, death
I am autistic, chronically ill, socially isolated and have experienced intense autistic burnout which can lead to thoughts of not wanting to be alive anymore. For these reasons, the issue of medical aid in dying (MAiD) is personal to me. On the surface, it may seem like a compassionate option for those living with mental health challenges or chronic pain, one of my health issues, but the reality is much more complex.
Our society has long failed to provide adequate support for vulnerable individuals, particularly those with mental health conditions and those who are poor and socially isolated. In the absence of necessary resources and care, the option of MAiD can seem like the only way out for some. However, this means that MAiD is not a genuine choice but a symptom of a system that prioritizes profit over people.
We are often told that mental health struggles are the result of personal failings, that we just need to engage in therapy, do some “self-care”, and take the right medication. But in reality, systemic failures are often the real culprit. This false narrative is particularly dangerous when considering the option of MAiD. The eugenicist nature of MAiD becomes clear when we consider who is most likely to choose this option. Individuals who are marginalized, stigmatized and devalued by society are more likely to see MAiD as a way out. This includes people with disabilities, mental health conditions, and those who are poor and socially isolated.
Instead of providing the support and care that individuals need to live fulfilling lives, society is encouraging those deemed “less valuable” to end their lives and make their organs available for transplants. This application of MAiD is a modern-day form of eugenics, where certain lives are deemed not worth living and are encouraged to end prematurely.
As someone who has considered MAiD in the past, I can attest to the feelings of hopelessness and isolation that can come with mental health challenges. But we must not let society convince us that we are disposable, that our lives are worth less than others. We must fight against the false narrative around mental health and demand better resources and care for all individuals. This is not just a matter of life and death, it is a matter of justice and human rights.
This article comes from my brain but was generated with the help of ChatGPT