CW: Assisted Suicide
As an adult with Cerebral Palsy, I have learned that it is a challenge to live every day. I have been looking for work since 2019 and haven’t been successful. I couldn’t get a job at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Big Y, or Walmart. It is hard for me to see teenagers who can work. Employers don’t bother to interview me when I disclose my disability. In the United States, 19.1% of people with a disability worked last year.
I have received Social Security benefits since 2016. I receive less than $900 every month. If I worked full-time at minimum wage, I’d make more than I receive monthly. For an individual working a full 40-hour work week, Massachusetts’s current minimum hourly wage of $14.25 equates to $29,640 a year.
In Canada, forced poverty is a factor in why some people choose to end their lives using assisted suicide. A woman ended her life in February under the country’s assisted suicide laws after asking unsuccessfully for affordable housing to help ease her severe health condition. She received $1,169 a month since she could not work, putting her well below the poverty line in Canada’s most populous and expensive province. People without disabilities wouldn’t be offered assisted suicide so soon.
It shouldn’t be easier for Canadians with disabilities to die than to live. Accessible, affordable housing should be widely available. In addition, disability benefits need to provide a livable income. People should be able to afford food, and other necessities. Nobody should go hungry, or without electricity or water in their home.
Disabled people around the world deserve equal opportunities. We should be able to find housing and employment like our non-disabled peers. The world needs to understand that disabled people aren’t going anywhere. We are tired of fighting for equality.
Charron, Jeremie. “’I Feel so Happy’: This Ottawa Man Had His Hydro Turned Back on after 8 Years.” CTV News, CTV News, 31 Aug. 2022, https://beta.ctvnews.ca/local/ottawa/2022/8/31/1_6050785.amp.html.
Caushi, Toni. “Mass. Minimum Wage Rises to $14.25 per Hour. Not Everybody Is Pleased.” MetroWest Daily News, MetroWest Daily News, 14 Jan. 2022, https://www.metrowestdailynews.com/story/business/2022/01/12/massachusetts-minimum-wage-boosted-14-25-per-hour/9106378002/.
Cecco, Leyland. “Are Canadians Being Driven to Assisted Suicide by Poverty or Healthcare Crisis?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 11 May 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/11/canada-cases-right-to-die-laws.
Roberts, Lily, et al. “Removing Obstacles for Disabled Workers Would Strengthen the U.S. Labor Market.” Center for American Progress, Center for American Progress, 23 May 2022, https://www.americanprogress.org/article/removing-obstacles-for-disabled-workers-would-strengthen-the-u-s-labor-market/.