A recent survey indicates that a slim majority of Britons support the right to assisted dying.
Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of people want doctors to be allowed to help terminally ill patients end their lives, with support particularly strong among those aged 55 to 64.
Six out of 10 people want friends and relatives to be able to help their dying loved ones to commit suicide, without fear of prosecution, the Populus survey for The Times showed. (via The Telegraph)
Clearly, this is all a deeply emotive topic and the arguments about slippery slopes and placing too much pressure on people to make a slightly quicker exit than required are all valid.
But we’re already on a slippery slope. It slips one way with life-prolonging equipment, treatments and medications. And it slips another way with the withdrawal of necessities for survival, i.e. food and water for those in the very last days or weeks of life.
I cannot understand why we can allow the withdrawal of liquids, but we can’t allow people to pass peacefully and quickly away.
I can certainly understand why people with debilitating and terminal illnesses would want to end their lives while they still had some control of it. I’d certainly like to have that chance, should the circumstances suggest that option. But I cannot understand why British residents have to travel to Switzerland to do so. For myself, I’d prefer to die without having my luggage screened by surly airport staff. If I’m well enough to travel, I’d surely be well enough to still enjoy precious time with my family. That means that current prohibitions are forcing people to make that choice while they still can and curtailing life where there is still some quality.
I’m strongly in favor of changing the law on assisted suicide. If you could choose a peaceful and humane ending for my cat, why can’t I choose it for myself?