Thursday 5 January 2012

Right to Chose Bill- How Do You Feel?

The top news story on the TV this morning (before Diane Abbott tweeted her sweeping and racist generalisation about white people) was the committee exploring the case for assisted suicide in terminally ill patients.

It's something that divides opinion in most people, with the yes vote insisting a person has a right to choose and the no vote saying that its not assisting someone to die but murdering them.

I'm very much in the yes camp. 

It's always baffled me that we don't have more say on our own bodies on things such as assisted suicide, yet we can inflate our lips, arse and boobs, or smoke our lungs black, or eat unhealthy food until we become the size of a house, and when things inevitably go wrong, the NHS steps in. 

We can make a choice on behalf of our pets- ending their suffering as they are unable to voice the request themselves. 

Yet we have to watch relatives and friends who lose the ability to care for themselves, stuck in a hospital bed in pain and agony, whilst we stand around them inadequately and unable to do anything to help. Our hands are tied. 

Personally, I would not want to be a burden to my family, (that's not to say I feel anyone in that position is a burden, it would be how I'd feel), I am a wuss over the slightest bit of pain, and the idea of my children or an unknown nurse having to help me care for "personal things" like washing, dressing or going to the loo fills me with horror. The very idea of suffering from an illness, such as that suffered by Terry Pratchett, well, I couldn't stomach the end result of losing my mind and mobility. To fear that my chosen helper would face criminal charges, for acting out my wishes, and with the best intentions at heart, well, it makes the decision that much harder to make.

I am not in any way saying that anyone who happens to find out they are terminally ill should be handed a syringe full of drugs to end it all, far from it. However, we should reserve the right to make that choice and, if we cannot do it ourselves for what ever reason, a named and agreeing party should be allowed to help us, in a clinic or similar. I'm thinking our own version of Dignitas here.

I can't help feeling that the only way assisted suicide will be legalised is if someone within parliament realises it will save the NHS lots of money and mean more bed space on certain wards.

Perhaps its a simple case of altering the Donor card scheme to include a yes box for being in agreement to not suffering a slow, agonising death but choosing when to go?

It will never be easy for many to stomach, but things do need to change.


  1. I am a Yes voter, however I do think that it is very open to abuse (remember Dr Shipman?) should would have to be carefully and sensitively regulated.

  2. Love the new name btw!

    Definate YES here. My dad has always said If he get bad, to shoot him



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