Dec 10 2008

Assisted Suicide

Published by at 4:52 pm under Blog,Politics

I‘m opening it up for debate. Ahead of Sky Real Lives’ documentary tonight where they show the final moments of Craig Ewert‘s life, after he travelled to Zurich to end his life with the aid of the Swiss firm Dignitas, I find myself wondering if I am for or against it.

Watching the news earlier, where they were reporting the fact that the DPP have decided not to prosecute the parents of Daniel James, who also travelled to end his own life, I was happy that they were not going to hound his grieving family, but I thought it unfortunate that yet another opportunity to discuss the legal repurcussions of euthanasia on a national scale had passed by.

There’s a huge part of me that believes that if someone is suffering and has no hope of recovery, they should have the option to end it all in a dignified and safe manner. Of course, there’s a part of me too that believes the legalisation of euthanasia is a slippery slope that may lead to it becoming a means of health care cost containment or the rejection of the importance and value of human life.

Pepsi are already making light of suicide as an end to depression – they seem to believe suicide is an effective marketing tool…


Where do others stand on this?

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Assisted Suicide”

  1. Joon 10 Dec 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Eesh, bit horrified by the ad!

    I read a weird women’s mag story about a woman who got breast cancer and wasn’t going to recover, and did the assisted suicide thing – she had a 3 year old daughter, and the bit about her saying goodbye to her was just, ugh, horrific. Despite the fact that I knew she was going to die anyway, and in horrible, undignified pain, I still was so upset.

    Not by the euthenasia, I think that’s perfectly acceptable, just the tragedy of it all. For some reason, her natural death seemed easier to take, even though it would have been a more awful one. Which makes no sense at all.

  2. Maxi Caneon 10 Dec 2008 at 10:39 pm

    I hold the belief that a person should have the right to decide when their life can be brought to an end, whether as an escape from long term illness or otherwise.

    Your life, your business.

  3. le craicon 10 Dec 2008 at 11:21 pm

    This is such a massive question and it’s one that I have two answers for.

    If I were ever in a situation where my prognosis wasn’t good and family were to see me deteriorate and I felt I was going to be a burden, I would want to have a choice. I wouldn’t want to put anyone through pain because of any pain I was in. But this in itself is selfish too, and not taking into consideration what my family might think. Which leads onto the second answer.

    If it was a member of my family, I would find it very hard to accept that they would want to die rather than fight. It doesn’t take much to come up with examples of people who have achieved more than many of us, despite life limiting illness.

    As to the value of life debate – it’s all relative to where you are born. At the risk of sound preachy – in the time I spent typing this how many children in the world have died for want of food? How many of us value those lives? Truth is, life has only got meaning where there are people around who care about that particular life.

  4. Lottieon 11 Dec 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Shame on Pepsi!! Shame shame shame.

    Yes assisted suicide is a slippery slope but not as slippery as they make out.

    Daniel James was an adult who was in both physical and psychological pain. He chose to end his life, it was not his parents decision. What parent wants their child to die?

    As an adult, Daniel made a considered and LEGAL decision to travel outside the country to Switzerland where the procedure is safe and again, legal. These clinics are not dingy little rooms down a dark shanty town alley way. They are strictly monitored, facilities which provide a manner for those with terminal illnesses to die with dignity.

    Anyone who has seen a loved one slowly fade to nothing following a stroke or had to watch someone dying from a disease such as Huntington’s will know that in those lucid moments the loved one only cries for their lost dignity. Daniel wanted the pain to stop and die with dignity.

    In my view the DPP in the UK had no right to intervene in this situation and if anything if I were Daniels parents I would be considering an emotional distress suit against the state.

    The act occurred outside the DPP’s jurisdiction. You can’t prosecute someone for going to the UK for an abortion – SAME THING APPLIES. If Daniel was a 16 year old boy then the state have a duty to ensure that his parents were caring for his well being – but then they weren’t so quick to act when the shoe was on the other foot in the Baby P case. The hypocrisy is sickening!

    But back to that slope – it’s like anything else – If a country wants abortion – have it – if not don’t. Same goes for gay marraige and assisted suicide. (This statement doesn’t reflect my views merely the fact that just because something is illegal in one country doesn’t make it illegal world wide)

    And if you think about it doesn’t the British (& Irish) government endorse state assisted suicide everyday by failing to provide life saving drugs on the NHS ultimately killing citizens unable to afford such drugs.

    (Sorry – I know. rant rant rant but God this makes me angry)

  5. Darrenon 17 Dec 2008 at 1:14 pm

    @Jo This raises the question whether assisted suicide is the selfish option. In order to reduce ones own pain, are you making it harder for those around you. It’s a tough one.

    @Maxi That’s my initial thoughts on it. Personally, I would want that right. But I can see the grey areas (people opting for assisted suicide because they can’t afford medications, etc.). I’m still not sure where I stand on it from a legal viewpoint. Morally, I have no qualms.

    @leCraic True True. We’re lucky to be in a comfortable enough position that we can debate these issues, rather than live and die through them.

    @Lottie Wow! I’m not going to defend the NHS or the HSE. Saying they have a legal case to answer for not supplying the country with life saving drugs is questionable. But I do agree, they don’t do enough. As for the DPP in the UK, they did take the decision that it was not in the public interest to pursue the case. For the James’ family, this was obviously the right decision. Legally speaking, I don’t think it’s the same as over here – we have the constitutional right to travel and such. Do they have the same kind of state guarantee? It seems it was very much in their remit to prosecute if the parents were seen to be aiding in an illegal act. I see your point though – it’s not an illegal act in Switzerland.

  6. Jayon 28 Mar 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Here we are, much later, and the debate is still ongoing. I agree with the post that there is so much about this that is a slippery slope.

    For one thing, I don’t think the debate is even framed in an honest way. Assisted suicide is always sold as accomplishing something good because it “alleviates suffering.” That, of course, is a completely unknowable assumption and, therefore, a matter of pure faith!

    If one individual wants to base a decision on his faith in what death brings, that is one thing. But it is completely something else for society to allow one person to help kill another based on . . . what? Some notion of what it’s like to be dead? That supposedly applies to everyone, at all times, no matter how death comes?

    That is one faith proposition after another. But, in the debate, there’s no honesty about how much “faith” it takes to believe that assisted suicide “alleviates suffering.”

    Then, if “alleviation of suffering” is not (because, factually, it cannot be) the actual rationale, we have to admit that assisted suicide is about health care cost containment, preserving inheritances, general convenience for the rest of us, etc. At that point, the way down the slipperly slope is a lot clearer.

    “Is being dead really better?” —

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