fbpx
Friday, July 3, 2020

Disability Rights Are Now Life Or Death

Enjoying this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

I am a proud Jew. I am also a 38-year-old quadriplegic with asthma. Millions of Americans – myself included – are at high risk from the virus and from medical rationing. Sadly, the de facto devaluation of disabled lives in healthcare is nothing new, but there is a current push to make it policy. It is always hard to determine the best way to allocate scarce resources, but Jewish tradition teaches that every life is of incalculable worth. Doctors will have to make enough tough choices, about who is likely to survive, and already will have to make the terrible judgment about who can survive without say, a ventilator, and who will die even if they have one.

Let us not compound this challenge by asking our doctors to place subjective value on individual lives, both because it is unfair to them and because any such subjectivity would necessarily disadvantage those whose life experience is very different from that of the doctor, including people with disabilities. After accounting for the likelihood of survival, first-come first-served is the only rational way to decide between two lives of incalculable value.

So, the question becomes, how can we as Jews ensure that this injustice and others do not become reality in this crisis. There is a major place for individual efforts and philanthropy on this issue, and yet all of the resources that we can muster pale before the nearly $2 trillion that our elected officials are soon to vote on, in order to allocate resources to deal with this crisis.

Our greatest effort, therefore, is to help those in power understand what is right. There are three important steps that our government leaders can take right now to ensure people with chronic health conditions and disabilities – who make up nearly 20 percent of the population in the United States, including millions who are immunocompromised – are not left behind. Please consider raising your voices in the pursuit of justice to share them:

  1. Ensure Equal Healthcare Priority for People with Disabilities – As the crisis intensified in Italy, the government response to the strain on the healthcare system was to systematically ration healthcare away from people with disabilities. This approach is already illegal under American law, but it still happens nonetheless. We should send a clear message that we do not support this devaluation of disability lives
  2. Ensure That Short-Term Help Doesn’t Do Long Term Harm – Salutatory efforts already are underway to provide financial assistance to the people hardest hit by the impact of this crisis, as well as other payments to stimulate the economy. To ensure this extra income not interrupt access to lifesaving services for people with disabilities, it should be excluded from the $2000 asset cap Which applies to disability benefits.
  3. Ensure People with Disabilities Have the Supplies They Need in This Time of Quarantine – The realities of quarantine efforts to keep the community safe have fundamentally changed access to food and necessities. We need to make programmatic modifications to make sure that people with disabilities have the food and medicine that they need in this time of crisis.

For more detail on these steps, and others that you can take, please visit our website.

Our organization is one of many on the front lines and we need allies. And let us be a strong ally to you. For example, as you make your meetings virtual, RespectAbility is available to help you make those convenings accessible to people with disabilities who are deaf and/or blind. Please email me if you need support in this way, or if you have support to offer.


Matan Koch is Director of RespectAbility’s California operation and Jewish leadership work. He can be reached at [email protected]

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

Pandemic Times Episode 65: Do Jewish Comics Fight Anti-Semitism?

New David Suissa Podcast Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In honor of comedy legend Carl Reiner, we talk about the art and unique power of...

The Time Capsule

When we were kids, my siblings and I created a time capsule. We put in pictures of ourselves, favorite phrases and sayings of 1989,...

The Needs of Jews in Eastern Europe in the Age of COVID-19

The pandemic has emphasized the value of communal life.

German Lawmakers Denounce Israel’s Annexation Plan, Say ‘Silence Is Not an Option’

For the Greens and Die Linke (“The Left”), the motion was too easy on Israel.

ADL CEO Under Fire for Partnering With Sharpton in Pressing Facebook Boycott

“We have been endlessly fighting an uphill battle of anti-Semitic hatred on Facebook since our inception."

Can the ADL ‘Stop the Hate’ by Embracing Al Sharpton?

ADL's partisan goals have now superseded its task of monitoring Jew-hatred.

Jimmy Carter Speaks Out Against Israeli Sovereignty Plans, Touts Former Accords

“The envisioned annexation would amount to a massive, illegal expropriation of Palestinian territory."

Rival Palestinian Factions Declare Unity: ‘We Have No Enemy Except for Israel’

“We are leaving this meeting under one flag, with which we oppose annexation.”

Culture

Israeli Pop Stars’ Music Video With Mexican and Arab Garb — and Giant Roosters — Irks Some Viewers

Despite the fact that the lyrics are not that complicated — there’s a lot going on in the video.

Could This Mediterranean Takeout Brand Named for an Arabic Israeli TV Show Be the Restaurant of the Future?

The menu in some ways is an homage to the restaurant’s television namesake.

JewItAtHome: Creating Community during COVID19

Thank you to Rabbi Adam Lutz whose leadership has created "JewItAtHome" through his synagogue, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills. He knew that...

The History and Heavenly Delights of Baklava

The Greeks and Turks argue over who can lay claim to the origins of baklava.

Latest Articles
Latest

Pandemic Times Episode 65: Do Jewish Comics Fight Anti-Semitism?

New David Suissa Podcast Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In honor of comedy legend Carl Reiner, we talk about the art and unique power of...

The Time Capsule

When we were kids, my siblings and I created a time capsule. We put in pictures of ourselves, favorite phrases and sayings of 1989,...

The Needs of Jews in Eastern Europe in the Age of COVID-19

The pandemic has emphasized the value of communal life.

German Lawmakers Denounce Israel’s Annexation Plan, Say ‘Silence Is Not an Option’

For the Greens and Die Linke (“The Left”), the motion was too easy on Israel.

ADL CEO Under Fire for Partnering With Sharpton in Pressing Facebook Boycott

“We have been endlessly fighting an uphill battle of anti-Semitic hatred on Facebook since our inception."

Hollywood

Ice Cube Denies Report He Ordered Entourage to Beat up a Rabbi

Above the letter he wrote “Don’t play with me. This is just phase one.”

Podcasts

Pandemic Times Episode 65: Do Jewish Comics Fight Anti-Semitism?

New David Suissa Podcast Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In honor of comedy legend Carl Reiner, we talk about the art and unique power of...

The Most Radical Professor In Israel

Israel is one of the youngest democracies on the face of the planet. If you turn on the news here in Israel, or a...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x