Baroness Meacher’s Assisted Dying Bill has its second reading in Parliament today, 22 October. The very fact we have got to this point shows that we live in a world that has equated compassion with death. Love as letting someone end their life. As we move towards being a society that is demanding euthanasia, Carrie Jade Williams asserts that we need to be the voice that reminds the world there are other options.

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Death doesn’t have to be feared.

I don’t say this lightly. I am 32 and terminally ill with a neurological illness that will eventually steal my ability to move, eat or communicate. An illness that most pro-euthanasia advocates use to justify the legalisation of assisted suicide; but I don’t fear this future. I have faith in a God that loves me through every battle.

He loves and is with us always, but his message isn’t always the first thing someone hears when debates around euthanasia happen.

I know. I meet many people who believe my disability is so tragic death would be better. They are pro-euthanasia, not out of cruelness but because the message of love has somehow become confused. We, as a community of faith built on the foundations of love, must consider our position on the debate surrounding euthanasia and learn how to communicate it.

I am not trying to stop someone’s right to die, I am pleading with the world to try and make it a better place for those living with disabilities and terminal illnesses. We can create a world that cares for everyone. A world that values everyone. Our message of love must become louder than what the world currently says about those living with a disability or terminal illness.

I live in a society that tells me my life isn’t worth living because I am dying. I live in a world that is regularly inaccessible. That views me as a burden. As less than. I understand why someone may consider euthanasia, because the world frequently forgets those like me living with a disability and terminal illness. I want our message of love to be louder than all of that.

Euthanasia debate

We must face the debate around euthanasia with love by doing everything in our power to ensure everyone’s needs are supported.

We need to remind the world that love doesn’t have to be euthanasia. Love can be demanding those in pain are given access to medical care. Those suffering are cared for with dignity. Those dying aren’t ignored.

I have faced the reality that I will likely die in a care facility with tubes feeding me in the next couple of years. I cannot stay silent on the debate around euthanasia because euthanasia is personal to me. It is the silent hints that linger in medical appointments. The moments I face every time someone says, “I am pro-euthanasia” and I know they are trying to be supportive, when all I hear is that they think my life is so bad they’d rather be dead.

We cannot simply tell the world we disagree with euthanasia.

We must be the safe place those disabled and dying can turn to. We have unprecedented numbers of people who are lonely, who feel a burden, who feel they do not belong. Our faith is a blessing – and one we can share. Our God gives us a simple message – to love, to support one another and not to judge.

Let’s be an alternative before they face a terminal diagnosis. Let’s be a community that supports our vulnerable neighbours, those with visible and invisible disability, those who feel lonely or abandoned. Let’s love one another, as he loves us. Let’s start today.