There is a very strong case that existing New Zealand law does not preclude a doctor providing a mentally competent, terminally ill patient with the means to achieve a peaceful death, according to a University of Otago law professor and a US lawyer well known for advocacy for such patients.
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Disability Rights Legal Center, originally called the Western Law Center for the Handicapped, was founded in 1975 by friends and colleagues of A. Milton Miller, one of the leading advocates of the disability rights movement in California.
Milt contracted polio as a young child, which affected his ability to walk. When he started school he was determined to attend with his older sister and not go to a “special” school. He climbed into his red wagon and his sister pulled him to school. This was his introduction to mainstreaming and equal rights for people with disabilities.
Later on, as an attorney and political activist, Milt was responsible for drafting and implementing requirements for barrier-free design in construction. At the time of his death, Milt was working to develop a public interest legal center to enforce the civil rights of persons with disabilities. Upon his untimely death, the vision was put into action by his colleagues and friends, including Saralea Altman who remains on the Board of Directors today.