roid wrote: (I'm not sure I accept the view that anyone's decision to die would be right, which it seems most people here accept?
This is now such a well-discussed subject on here perhaps we should set the record straight as I suppose this impression can be inferred from the thread content (well mine anyway
) but is not I think correct as to specifics.
There is considerable support on this forum for what Terry is investigating as an option he would possibly like to take should his condition start to seriously and irreparably affect his quality of life. He has made it plain that this is something he may choose and, in view of the current law in the UK that still makes it possible for people involved in helping someone die in circumstances that are legally defined as suicide (deliberately killing yourself, regardless of your physical, mental or emotional wellbeing), to be prosecuted and imprisoned for enabling an act that is not in itself criminal, but is proscribed legally, wishes to challenge the current law and wants a system of arbitration put in place to properly ratify assisted death under Human Rights legislation.
This is what I personally support without reservation and have done for some time, before I joined this forum and in fact before this forum was created and Sir Terry was diagnosed with Alzheimers. I do not think that 'assisted death' should be anything but elective (i.e. the individual's decision made personally and rationally for themselves) ) and respect peoples views who would not take that route even if it were legally open to them, whether this is for ethical or spiritual reasons, regardless of faith or cultural aspects.
The decision should be a right that may be taken as an option, not as a matter of course and, like many other people I can see that this procedure is capable of being abused in a criminal manner and so I accept that legislation must be in place to regulate how assisted death should be conducted to prevent foul play or institutional mismanagement in the public or private sector of medical/nursing care in hospital, hospices and care homes. As a person who has a chronic depressive illness I am totally and painfully aware of suicidal thoughts and tendencies and agree that this side of matters causes huge concern. On a daily basis un
assisted suicide causes untold damage in physical and emotional terms for everyone concerned and connected to the people who do succumb. I would not (I hope) take my own life during the course of a downswing phase in my chronic condition - I choose this not because of belief or even inclination but because I know how my family and friends would suffer as a result of my 'untimely' death.
I do not need legislation to take my own life. Currently it is my choice not to and I cannot foresee a time when I would go against my own determination to stay alive. However, like Terry, if I were terminally ill and
in great, irreversible pain or humiliation, lacking physical mobility or independence, or without intellectual integrity, discernment or consciousness and needing round the clock nursing I would not wish to prolong my life unnecessarily or become a burden to others, people that I love and care for.
I am convinced that there needs to be legislation and procedural formalities in place (as there are in countries where assisted death is legal) to prevent people electing to die without good medically or sufficiently rationalised reasons. I want the law changed so everyone can take this road should they need
to, not just because it is their right to do so. If the law is not changed and I wished to die then I would want to do so in a controlled and successful manner and not harm myself unduly in the process or hurt the people I leave behind by making them feel my death was their responsibility or 'fault'. By opening up this debate the way is being paved for people being able to choose to die openly and honestly with as little stigma or repercussion of their own, reasoned decision in a civilised manner and in as 'comfortable' conditions as can be made for all concerned.
to be decriminalised conditionally - it would and should never
be undertaken clinically without proper legal guidelines and under supervision of 'proper' channels. How that is done is political as well as legal. If there is a public need, which is now perceivably being demonstrated by Terry's and others investigations, then it should be acknowledged and acted upon through the proper judicial channels. If the law is to be changed then it should be on the basis that assisted death ought to be made available for all, as a legal option, should sufficient criteria be shown for that course to be taken on application, on an individual basis, and case by case.
In this type of situation bureaucracy is needful but does not have to be made onerous as time (and timing) is also going to be a consideration. That is not the same as supporting assisted death with no proper legal criteria or procedural requirements being ratified and in place. Assisted death needs to be institutionalised by definition in other words and should never be undertaken on a whim or before other options are explored or eliminated. That is simply common sense.