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calendar   Friday - July 31, 2009

Is it okay to help someone whose life has become unendurable, to end it all at their choosing?

This topic has raised a number of comments.

Here in the UK, a number of ppl have made the trip to Switzerland to help loved ones end it. Strictly speaking, that is against the law here. BUT, nobody has been prosecuted so far for assisting or enabling suicide.  The thinking is I suppose, that a jury would not convict in that circumstance. 

One problem I have with some opponents, is that many are churchmen and are speaking from a religious point of view.  That’s okay when they are trying to influence their own flock.  But I surely do not want them making a decision in law, based on their religious beliefs, that will eventually affect me.  I have a real problem with that.  I don’t want them minding my business along with theirs.

A bill has already been shot down here only last week. Or was it the beginning of this week?  That had to do with this subject. 
I’ve heard pointless debates on radio here with some pie in the sky dreamers talking about improved palliative care.  Yeah. Easy for them to preach. None are in a state of painful ill health wishing it could be over.

Then there’s the scare about how greedy people will talk old and sick relatives into killing themselves so they can make off with the family jewels a bit earlier.
Thing of it is, people that mean and that rotten are gonna do it anyway. 
There are folks being murdered in the streets here every day.  Youth gangs are everywhere and not just in the inner cities.  They’re stealing life from those who had years of healthy life ahead of them.  But the focus on assisted suicide always seems to run to the what if scenario re. doing away with the elderly and ill for gain.

Another thing to note.  I don’t agree with this feel right about it theory that it’s only okay if the person wanting a final exit, has reached a point where they only have months to go anyway.  Why should any very sick person be required to wait that long?  The lady in this particular case hasn’t asked (yet) for a change in law.  Not exactly that.  She quite rightly wants clarification on the penalty with regard to the person who might help her end it by traveling overseas with her.
As others have done.  There is a downside however to what she has done this day. In an editorial, here in part is what The telegraph has to say.
And they are quite right I think.

In reality, it is unlikely that the authorities would ever sanction a prosecution in such a case. A total of 115 British citizens are known to have ended their lives in the Dignitas clinic, yet there have been no prosecutions. The law’s very ambiguity has allowed this to happen. That ambiguity is now to be removed. And far from making assisted suicide easier, as
Miss Purdy and her supporters maintain, it could make it more legally fraught. For Parliament made clear this month that it does not want the law
changed, and the law says that aiding or abetting suicide is a crime.

Debbie Purdy case: MP David Winnick pledges to launch Bill calling for assisted suicide to be legalised in UK
An MP has begun a bid to legalise assisted suicide in Britain a day after Debbie Purdy won the right to have the law clarified.

By Martin Beckford, Social Affairs Correspondent
Published: 2:10PM BST 31 Jul 2009

A Bill is being proposed that would allow terminally ill people to end their lives with the help of loved ones in their home country, rather than having to travel to “suicide clinics” overseas.

It comes after five Law Lords ruled in the case of Ms Purdy, who has multiple sclerosis, that the Director of Public Prosecutions must state exactly when prosecutions would be launched against those who accompany people to commit suicide abroad.

Although aiding and abetting suicide remains a crime punishable by up to 14 years’ imprisonment, none of the Britons who have helped terminally ill people die at clinics such as Dignitas in Switzerland has been prosecuted.

David Winnick, the Labour MP for Walsall North, said: “The question arises from yesterday’s decision – should we recognise cases such as Debbie Purdy, should we change the law, should people have to go abroad?

“I’m not saying for a moment ‘let’s try and encourage people to die’ but if a person with a terminal illness does reach such a conclusion, that they don’t want to go on, and want assisted dying such a facility should exist.

“If the law was changed we would need to have absolute safeguards against abuse and to give the person who has made such a decision every opportunity to change their minds and to make it clear it would be limited to those suffering from terminal illness.”

He said the issue needs to be “debated thoroughly” in Parliament and will put forward a Private Members’ Bill suggesting “a measure whereby assisted dying could take place in this country”.

The proposal would be entered into a ballot in the autumn, along with an estimated 300 others, and a handful will be given some time for debate in the Commons.

Even if it were one of the few chosen, there may not be time for it to be voted on as the Government decides the timetable for legislation.

In addition, the forthcoming Parliament will be shorter than most as it must be dissolved in time for a general election by June at the latest.

However, even as a symbolic gesture it shows the determination of MPs to keep up public debate on the controversial issue of assisted suicide.

Just weeks ago Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor under Tony Blair, made a failed attempt to change the law on travel to Dignitas in the House of Lords.

SOURCE AND MORE


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 07/31/2009 at 03:33 PM   
Filed Under: • Health-MedicineMiscellaneousScary StuffUK •  
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