Assisted suicide is a personal decision that we should be free to openly discuss

It’s not often I say this, but way to go Richard and Judy!

 

Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan have said in an interview that they would help each other in assisted suicide should one of them because ill with no chance of recovery. The Care not Killing group are now gunning after them.

CNK have said:

“These headline-grabbing comments go against the advice of organisations like the World Health Organisation which says that discussions about suicide and assisted suicide need to be handled very carefully to prevent taking your own life or helping someone to die appear normal.

“Before making similar comments I hope that Richard and Judy might investigate more thoroughly the amazing quality of palliative care we have in this country and visit one or more of the UK’s outstanding hospices. How we maintain both with an ageing population and in times of austerity is what we desperately need to discuss.”

This is an exceptionally naive and personally intrusive thing to say. Should it not be up to every individual and their family to make such a deeply personal decision? CNK are inferring that ending your life when you are suffering is a morally wrong action and that it is incomprehensible given the apparently wonderful palliative care services available.

I don’t think anyone not directly involved in such a deeply personal matter should be making moral judgements, and the second assumption is just laughable. I very much doubt how wonderful palliative care is comes into the decision making when deciding whether you’ve had enough. Those who choose not to hang on to the bitter end should not be made out to be morally deviant. And CNK shouldn’t make out that such a decision to end your life under such circumstances is unusual. Likewise, those who want to extend their life for as long as possible should be allowed to do so and services should be made available to allow them to do so.

By criminalising assisted suicide and making out that it is morally wrong encourages people who are ill but currently functional to commit suicide earlier while they are still able to go through with the act themselves, to do so secretly and not with the support or through discussion with family.

We need to bring this discussion out into the open. We shouldn’t be making decisions about other people’s lives based on our own personal or moral opinion. We need to accept that what works for one person doesn’t work for another. That way, people who are seriously ill won’t feel backed into a corner into acting one way or the other. They need freedom to make an informed decision. Otherwise, we make a perfectly reasonable question taboo.

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2 thoughts on “Assisted suicide is a personal decision that we should be free to openly discuss

  1. It should be the choice of the individual, and we should support them in that decision. I mean for starters, clearly CNK haven’t seen the huge disparity between palliative care at a hospice and that which occurs at home. And you wonder what their stance would be on people who choose not to have treatment when it has a slim chance of extending their lives but is really intrusive. Would they like to criminalise that too?

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    • Hello! Many thanks for your comment.
      There seems to be this stereotype that those who are dying want to carry on until their very last breath, want or have to fight the inevitable despite being in intolerable pain, and have to be brave. CNK seem to think that this is ‘natural’ and the ‘norm’. People facing such a terrible thing shouldn’t have to be backed into a corner by society and feel that their choices have been taken away from them. The decision is theirs. CNK approach encourages people to act in secret. People should be able to have this discussion with their families and medical personnel. They shouldn’t be forced into acting in secret with a Bottle of prescription drugs bought off the internet that may or may not work. The idea that people should be left in agonising pain because they have no choice I find offensive. This Tory government is always banging on about giving us choice…how about a bit of choice in one of the most important decisions that an individual will make?

      People’s lives are their own and how they choose to live it, or not, is their own decision.

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