Posts Tagged ‘euthanasia’

The great cause as far as disabled people are concerned remains equality – not assisted suicide

23/08/2012, 01:40:09 PM

by Kevin Meagher

The suffering and death of Tony Nicklinson has been painful enough to watch as an outsider, let alone to experience what it must be like as a family member or friend of this once active and independent man.

His fight to reform the law to allow ‘assisted suicide’ – rejected in the high court last week – was heartfelt and passionate. It clearly gave focus to his bleak and tortured existence after suffering from “locked-in syndrome” for eight years following a massive stroke in his early 50s.

But his passion and sincerity were misplaced. The law should not be liberalised and, if anything, should be strengthened to prevent the slide towards legislation that creates circumstances in which the life of a sick or disabled person can be deliberately ended.

This sentiment will rankle with some who, moved by Nicklinson’s terrible plight, would have granted him the scope to end a life he plainly no longer wanted to live.

“I wouldn’t want to live if that happened to me” is a response most of us will have uttered at some point, usually as a response to the sight of someone with profound physical or mental disabilities.

The impulse is perhaps strongest among those who live successful, rewarding lives. Baby-boomers like Nicklinson personify a generation that takes personal autonomy and choice for granted, unhindered by others’ boundaries.

In this view, the thought of being humbled by disability or disease destroys the very thing that animates a well-spent life – individual freedom.

But let’s be clear what is at stake. Whether we call it euthanasia or assisted suicide we are talking about killing human beings. We are forced to cross a Rubicon. Unlike war, where death is a by-product of other strategic goals, in this instance death is the point.


Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon