Sleep is the little death...
But ordinary sleep's about renewal too of course, something that isn't an option for assisted death - you know that's a patronising bloody term too!
Call a spade a bloody shovel or put a pink ribbon around the handle and wear black velvet gloves to use it and it'll still dig a grave for you.
- a deliberate act done as an expression of charity or however you want to put it. How's that for grasping the nettle? Someone dies as a result of a kindness done for them because they're too far gone to keep on living - nothing wrong with that is there? It's done every day in virtually any hospital in any country and sometimes for less reason than because the person wants it to happen sooner rather than later. It happens already and sometimes, rarely one hopes, it happens for the wrong reasons and it's this
that scares people aside from the wrath of god aspect.
On the Newsnight debate there was a bishop as well as a disabled lady on the ante lobby side of the table and even he agreed that it has to the individual's choice in the end and if it's made legal then, although he still couldn't condone it on spiritual and moral grounds, it was a valid option open to people to take provided
they were certain that was what they wanted and were in a position still to make that rational choice. His actual objection to the Dignitas option being made available in this country at present is because he fears that the weak and the vulnerable might not be sufficiently protected and, rightly, that there would be ways around the legalities of consent for mercy killing for the sufficiently motivated for other non-altruistic reasons.
What if it's an option for people who are chronically ill and in dire physical shape, who aren't being cared for by people they love? They might get pressured into saying they wanted to die for what might appear to be sound quality of life reasons, even though they'd not want that unless they were being bullied or mistreated in some way. It's that situation that's the reason we haven't got this law in place already. It may not be a good enough reason not to have assisted death (there you go I've caved in already because it sounds so much 'nicer'
) with the proper legislation put in that will make this 'foul play' scruple/quibble recede and not be covered under the otherwise needful decriminalisation of helping someone who wants to die do so, as opposed to manipulating them into death or thinking they want it. There have to be sufficient safeguards in place to stop that likelihood of truly criminal abuse, irrespective of hysterical spiritual qualms.
I'm for this concept wholeheartedly and would opt for it myself without hesitation when life ceases to have any good meaning for me, or is too painful (in whatever manner that is) for me to carry on deciding to get out of bed every single day. However, the nay-sayers do have a point in those respects which may be tricked out in Holy Joe speak, but can't be ignored because this is death we're talking about and the living have a duty to help desparately sick people stay alive too. Perhaps it's more a question of defaults that's the sticking point and what assisted death presents is too much of a change to be regarded as an automatic right if you decide that's it without too much thought one day after your lover's walked out, the dog's bitten your bum and your lumbago's playing you up something chronic because the winds coming from the north-west...
That's what people aren't happy about really - that they'll be commiting to something that will become unstoppable and maybe even become the norm where its assumed that's the route everyone will want. The little niggle that says - what if there's a miracle? Maybe they'll find a cure the day after I go? What if he/she comes back to me? What if I just change my mind and I can't tell anyone not to do it? What if nobody listens to me or say it's too late for me to back out? It's a human choice so there have to guidelines and clear safeguards for everyone, but especially for the weak and the friendless.