Assisted Dying – who decides?

Evening all!

I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for months now, and here I find myself on a Friday night, at home, on-call from work, sat blogging about assisted dying. I almost don’t know where to start, and I think that is what has put me off writing about this before. I’ve tweeted about it a number of times over the last year or so, but never really put down my thoughts on the matter. The 2 key events that have taken place concerning assisted dying have been the rejection of proposed legislation in both the Scottish and UK Parliaments.

Patrick Harvie, leader of the Green Party in Scotland, took up the challenge of championing the legislation on behalf of the late Margo MacDonald in the Scottish Parliament. He pretty much summed-up how I feel, when he said:

Whatever view members take of the detailed operation of this legislation were we to pass it, I hope that all members who understand the basic principle, who accept the idea that human beings have the right to make a decision in circumstances such as a terminal or life-shortening illness, I hope that members will give this bill the opportunity to come forward to the next stage, and then we can begin to debate the amendments that come forward.”

What is the point of Parliament, if not to debate such fundamental matters of importance as those of life and death – literally, in this instance. What frustrates me the most is the fact that both in Scotland and in the rest of the United Kingdom, legislation has been brought forward and then not given the support or time necessary to have proper discussion and to further the debate. If this happens each time such legislation is proposed, then what is the point? I sincerely hope that with the re-introduction of Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill in the current session of the Westminster Parliament, that it progresses further than it managed to last time. For those who oppose it, what have you to fear by letting it progress through the committee stages of the House of Lords and into the House of Commons? This will give everybody the chance to analyse the proposed legislation in more detail and to suggest amendments, which can then in turn be debated. It would appear that the British public is moving towards an acceptance of the principle of assisted dying. If this is the case, then the Parliaments that represent them have a duty to debate, discuss, inform and educate on the matter.

Happily Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill has been re-introduced into the UK Parliament and had its first reading in the House of Lords on June 4th 2015:

There is so much information online and in print about assisted dying. For those of you already interested in the topic then i’m sure you know where to look. However, for those of you that may be new to the debate then the link above is a good place to start. It contains a copy of the proposed legislation, and will take you through its progress.

If you hadn’t already figured it out, then I shall now nail my colours to the mast. I support the basic principle of assisted dying and a persons’ right to choose when they no longer wish to live, even if this involves the assistance of another party. This Bill should be allowed to progress through Parliament and receive the proper scrutiny it requires and deserves – on a matter of such importance.

I will come back to this topic in the future, but I just wanted to put it out there and declare my interest. Please feel free to get in touch, share your views and add to the debate.



#TOTW (18-02-2015) ‘Interesting article regarding attitude of Dutch doctors to Assisted Dying…’

Good evening!

I’d like to kick off this week by thanking all my new followers – 14 this week I think! If I can manage to keep up this rate on average, then I might even make 600 never mind 500 followers by the end of the year! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

As for this week’s #TOTW, well I make no apologies for returning to a topic that I often tweet about…that of assisted dying:

Interesting article regarding attitude of Dutch doctors to *READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE!*

I keep coming back to this topic, as I don’t think there are many more important topics in one’s life than how and when one would like to die, and that’s just my point. I believe it should be our choice as to when we want to shuffle off this mortal coil. This is a conversation we should all be having with our loved ones…NOW…not when it’s too late and we’re not able to convey our views as to how and when we should be switched off, injected with a lethal dose of something, or whatever method is most suitable!

Read the article – all the way to the end – then talk this through with those around you. Please share this with your friends and colleagues, and let’s spread the word! The best way to get over the issues that people have with assisted dying (and to dispel many of the myths that surround it) is to get it out into the open and to talk about it, and not to be embarrassed or afraid to.

Go on…you can do it!

#TOTW (from 30-12-14) ‘Debbie Purdy: Right-to-die campaigner dies’

Welcome to 2015 and my weekly slot #TOTW (Tweet Of The Week), for which this week I have chosen the news of the death of Debbie Purdy, a campaigner for the right of people to decide when they wish to end their lives, and for greater protection for those involved in assisting such deaths:

dies after refusing food. How is this in a “civilised” society?

Also another tweet to an article that Debbie Purdy wrote shortly before her death:

called 4 more legal protection 2 support those who help in

I’m currently researching assisted suicide and euthanasia for a university assignment on the morality of one versus the other and whether either of them can be considered morally permissible. As such, I don’t want to write too much about the topics here in order that I can save it for my academic work. Suffice as to say that I find it totally abhorrent that someone should feel that their only option should they choose to end their own life is to starve themselves to death.

You may not agree with what Debbie Purdy was campaigning for, but I would like to think that in a civilised society (such as that we allegedly live in)  we can agree that if someone, who is of sound mind decides that they wish to choose the timing of the ending of their life, then we should not force them to have to starve in order to achieve their desire i.e. that of a dignified and pain-free death. This is surely something that we can agree is what we would all desire when the time comes.