- Assisted suicide: others may help (eg provide drugs, help with transport) but the individual must perform the action themselves. Illegal. Seen by some as a disability rights issue: it's not illegal for an able-bodied person to kill themselves, but if someone's too disabled to do the deed themself and therefore needs help, the person who helps them commits a crrime.
- Voluntary euthanasia: The individual is not able to kill themself, even with assistance. The only way they can die at will is if another person will actively kill them.
And many people are as disabled as him, and lead happy lives. If the courts decide that Tony's life is so miserable that it's OK for him to be killed, what does that say about the value of a disabled life? It's already common to hear able-bodied people saying things like "If I had to use a wheelchair, I'd kill myself." How would a decision that it's OK for a severely disabled person to be killed affect these attitudes?
While making a decision about anything involving healthcare, we must be in a position to give informed consent. That means we must be aware of all the pros and cons of the situation. I don't know enough about the facts of Tony's case to comment on that: but I've heard of previous cases where people requesting death had had no opportunity to live in the community (obviously with appropriate support). Could these people really be giving informed consent?
If assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia are ever legalised, there will need to be very firm safeguards to make sure people are not being pressurised into requesting them. But research in the places where legalisation has already taken place suggests that this is not impossible.
The key factors for me are community living and social attitudes. We must be free to live as part of the community, and society must accommodate our needs and accept us as equal members of that society. Only then can we make truly informed decisions about whether or not to end our lives.