03 February 2010

Assisted Suicide

There has been talk in the UK about assisted suicide, or assisted death: in particular the cases of Kay Gilderdale and Frances Inglis. Also, Sir Terry Pratchett, fantasy author (the Discworld and Truckers series, amongst others), has announced that he has Alzheimers and wants assisted suicide. I think that if we can give my pet a humane and painless death, we should be able to allow a human the same courtesy.

Kay Gilderdale is now calling for a change in the laws regarding assisted death. This makes sense since those with money are already able to travel to Switzerland. This points out a disparity in the law that those with money can leave the jurisdiction to end their lives.

Similarly, laws against abortion only harmed the poor since the wealthy were able to find alternative sources to the illegal back alley abortions.

Assisted death should be a legal option for those who wish for it in a civilised country. That absolutely isn’t to say assisted death should be forced upon anybody, or even encouraged, merely that the option should be available to those who a) are suffering from a condition from which they cannot recover, and b) expressly desire it.

Some opponents of assisted death argue that man should not “play God”. As Sir Terry says, “the problem with the God argument is that it works only if you believe in God”. Legalising assisted death need have no impact on the lives of those who do believe in God: they can go on dying as naturally as God intended. But it should be there for those who don’t believe in God, and yearn desperately for the salvation of assisted death, a salvation that God tends not to offer.

ed. I had originally called him just plain old Terry Pratchett, but decided to call him SIR Terry Pratchett. Why not?

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