Washington Post on Disability Activism and the Schiavo Case
The battle over the severely brain-damaged Florida woman sparked a wave of congressional and legal wrangling and a renewed interest in end-of-life directives. But for many who are disabled -- whether from a recent accident or a lifelong illness -- the case triggered a much more immediate, personal reaction.
Watching the Florida drama from the opposite coast, it looked as though Schiavo was "put to death for the crime of being disabled," said William G. Stothers, deputy director of the Center for an Accessible Society. "Among the disability rights community, it is a generally held belief that in society at large the view is 'better dead than disabled.' "
Distrustful of the medical establishment and worried they may be considered a "burden," disabled people such as Stothers fear they may be one ER visit away from becoming the next Terri Schiavo.