‘Euthanise at birth’ call offends disabled people

Disability Rights activist

Disability rights activists are frustrated that a person who wants disabled people euthanised at birth is to speak at a public event.

Australian ethicist Dr Peter Singer​’s views are “harmful” to those with disabilities, the activists say.

Singer​ is back in Auckland for a one-off event at Trusts Arena in Henderson on Saturday night.

He was originally booked to speak two years ago, but the pandemic led to the event being cancelled.

The 2020 event also courted some negative attention from disability rights activists. Once the initial venue SkyCity learned of this, it cancelled Singer’s booking.

Singer is known to have advocated for parents of newborns with severe disabilities to have the right to euthanise the child.

Disabled Persons Assembly NZ’s Emily Tilley (pictured)​, is one of many who says Singer’s views are dangerous.

Singer’s views are “offensive to disabled people” says Tilley. She’s unhappy to hear he’s come to New Zealand to speak.

The idea of euthanising disabled people is based on a false premise, she says.

“It is based on the inaccurate premise that disabled peoples’ lives are not as ‘happy’ as the lives of non-disabled people,” Tilley says.

Journalist and former human rights commissioner Robyn Hunt​ agrees.

Singer’s stance was “devaluing”, she says. But while she disagrees with his point of view, she supports Singer’s right to free speech.

Like Tilley, she’s nonetheless disappointed he’s been given a platform in New Zealand.

Singer has confirmed he supports the idea of infanticide in certain circumstances.

That view is totally distinct from his views about the rights of disabled people more generally, he says.

“I fully stand by the rights of people with disabilities to have the best possible life that they can, to be fully integrated into society. I support the laws against discrimination against people with disabilities,” he says.

Suzi Jamil​, the director of Think Inc, the company promoting Singer’s tour, is standing by her decision to promote Singer.

She is inviting those who oppose his views to come to the show. They may participate in a question and answer session, she says.

Singer’s current tour is to promote his non-profit organisation The Life You Can Save. It is dedicated to persuading people to donate to life-saving charities in developing nations.


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News category: New Zealand.

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