In a society that increasingly fetishises not only bodily health, but bodily perfection, it becomes more and more likely that people will assume that those without perfect bodies — the disabled — have nothing to live for.
So we have Jame Campbell writing The Guardian of her terror on discovering this new form of prejudice in her doctors:
In January I was hospitalised with severe pneumonia in both lungs. On two separate occasions, doctors told me they assumed that if I fell unconscious I wouldn’t want to be given life-saving treatment. I was so frightened of what might happen to me that I kept myself awake for 48 hours.
In other words, the doctors couldn’t imagine wanting to live if cripped with spinal muscular dystrophy, as is Jane, and were in danger of allowing her to die.
Perhaps the reinforcement of this kind of prejudice is the greatest danger of legalising “assisted suicide”, that in legitimising accession to ultimate defeat in life one endangers those who undertake the very bravest struggles.