Legalizing Assisted Suicide is No Answer for the Disabled Like Me

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(Star Tribune) – I remember feeling that way several months before I became severely disabled. In 1980, I had taken a group of teenage girls to see a young quadriplegic named Joni Eareckson Tada, who painted beautifully by holding a paintbrush in her mouth. Though inspired by her talent, I remember telling the girls, “I could never live like that.”

A few months later my neck was broken in a car accident, and I became a quadriplegic, paralyzed below my shoulders. I would spend the next year and a half in various hospitals and rehabilitation centers, dealing with medical problems and learning to live with a spinal cord injury.

Reality hit after four months, when the hospital let me go home for a few days. I saw the piano and realized I’d never play it again. The kitchen reminded me I could no longer fry an egg for myself. Simple tasks like taking a shower were now major productions requiring lots of time and lots of help. My independent days were over. CONTINUE