Joni Eareckson Tada has a strong op-ed
in Friday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal
arguing that the the celebrated ideals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) has crumbled under a double standard. It was originally designed, she notes, “to guarantee the basic rights of Americans with disabilities.” But now that the fear of disability “is allowed to influence legislation to allow people with disabilities to kill themselves, the notions of personal autonomy, freedom and dignity that the ADA championed take on a grim irony.”
She takes us on a brief survey of our culture of death, starting with assisted-suicide laws to now infants with disabilities, and even children with incurable diseases. Joni notes that “while a disabled person’s civil rights are recognized under federal law, those rights are nullified when confronted with stereotypical notions about the ‘tragedy’ of a disabled person’s existence.”
Life is the most precious and foundational right of humanity. Society’s unwritten moral law has always led us to save our children—and certainly not to allow them to destroy themselves. . . .
What kind of society do we want? If we are seeking a good society, then we do well to defend the rights of the helpless—not nullify their rights in order to destroy them. It benefits all of us to minister to those who are hurting, not to agree with them that life isn’t worth living.
You can read the whole thing here (subscription or login may be required).