Last night, the BBC aired a documentary on assisted suicide. I haven’t gotten to see it yet, but I look forward to watching it tonight if possible. And for those who cannot access iPlayer, I link to the article as well:
Sir Terry Pratchett unswayed by assisted suicide film
For those who are not aware, Sir Terry Pratchett of Discworld fame has Alzheimer’s disease, and is an avid campaigner for the right to die in dignity. I happen to agree with him – with a parent who is terminally ill, I have and always will support my father if he decides to end his life. The worst thing in the world I can imagine is being trapped in a non-functioning body with a mind that is still alive. I’ve been physically unwell for enough of my life to know how miserable that can be, and while I myself have never felt so miserable as to want to die…
I also respect the fears and concerns of those who worry that if such was legalized in America, in the United Kingdom, that we would see those so-called death panels become fact. I think that it’s ridiculous myself that we’d see something so ridiculous and dystopian as Logan’s Run become fact, but I can understand that people are scared of death and dying, and that such fear is easily exploitable. And I’ll totally say that fear is healthy in a normal, healthy person – life is living, and living is a healthy life where a person can actually live and do and be. Living isn’t being wired up and shoved around for most, and I don’t think well of those who suggest that I should be happy confined to a chair or bed because they’re too scared of death and dying to accept that not everyone feels the same way.
One thing that I firmly agree on should assisted suicide ever come to be widely available is something that Dignitas already insists on – that the decision be made while a person is fully capable of making the decision on their own. But I also think that no matter how many laws and failsafes you put around anything, there is always going to be someone working around it. Why should we make suffering people leave the country to take their lives in a strange place because someone might find a way to trick a mentally disabled person into agreeing to suicide? Such is incredibly tragic, sure, but guess what – it already happens. You can’t live in a bubble, and you can’t magically legislate everyone into acquiescence (holy crap, I spelled that right on the first try – awesome!). You can try, but all you end up doing is scaring people and making them afraid to so much as cross the street, thank you nanny state.
But that’s just my opinion, and as I’ll always say – you’re entitled to yours as well. 🙂