Should assisted suicide be legal?

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  • Should assisted suicide be legalised? 6

    1. Yes (5) 83%
    2. No (0) 0%
    3. Don't know (1) 17%
    4. Don't care (0) 0%

    Former lecturer takes 'right to die' bid to High Court

    A man who is not expected to live beyond nine months is to begin the latest attempt to change the law on assisted dying.




    Noel Conway, a retired college lecturer, successfully went to the Court Of Appeal in April after he was denied permission to bring a judicial review over the ban on helping a person to die.

    Right to die case

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    This issue needs attention. No one has the right to deprive terminal sufferers from the right to choose when they die. Suicide is not a crime. All this ancient religiously oriented nonsense should be thrown out and a fresh approach to the rights of individuals who wish to die, or the rights of close relatives who can make this decision in the absence of the individual sufferer's mental or physical capacity to do so, should be reassessed.

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

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  • Let me think about this, as I've seen this from both sides of the coin, so to speak.


    And thanks for the thread LW, I was going to do one on the same subject at some point.

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  • It's a vital issue. Terminals who want to die need our support.

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

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  • Obviously, this is a issue I have thought about a lot and based on my own experiences of looking after my terminally ill dad. I would advise extreme caution on allowing assisted suicide. For one thing, the assisted suicide could turn into assisted homicide.


    I have a lot to say on this. Let me get some thoughts together and I'll try and articulate some of them over the course of this week.

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  • I have strong feelings on the entire issue of suicide, whether assisted or by the individuals own hand and choice.

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

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  • But if it's by someone's own hand, that is almost an entirely separate issue and specifically on that, I think it is a individual's own business if they wish to end their own life, especially if they have a terminal disease. But, what we are talking about here is getting someone else to do it for you and that opens up a whole can of worms.

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  • I don't see it as a can of worms. If someone is conscious and has given signed permission in a will or document of some kind that permission to end life support or apply euthanasia by a medical professional, I don't see the can of worms problem.


    People who kill others for insurance money or because they want to be rid of them are murderers and this isn't likely to go unnoticed and goes on apace today with or without the legal death issue of assisted suicide.


    When someone is in a wheelchair, can hardly function anymore, needs assisted breathing apparatus and is keen to journey on (in other words to die), why is there such a performance about it? The person is going to die anyway at some stage and forcing them to continue is cruel and fascist.


    I am surprised at how quickly the powers that be will sign into existence a legal injunction to ban religious jewellery or clothing, to prevent gender stereotyping in adverts, to enforce political correctness across the board, etc, but they hum and they ha over terminally folk who are suffering 24/7 and just want to leave us earlier than would happen if they were forced to endure the full run of whatever is killing them. It is, after all, their choice most of the time.


    There is the other issue of when the condition has advanced so far that the patient is not conscious, or mentally capable, and there are no relatives from whom to gain permission to end life. This would be a medical issue and doctors trained in the needs and psychology of the terminally ill would be able to make this decision. I have noticed that when they do, there is an outcry that they have "killed" someone. Well, yes, they have, to put it bluntly, but what they have really done is release that unfortunate individual from further suffering.


    There is also the financial issue of spending really large amounts of tax payers' funds on hopeless medical cases, many of whom want to die but are not allowed to, have got too ill to do it themselves, and are in the dreadful position of having to wait for some deity to act or for Nature to take its inevitable course. They become victims of public hysteria.


    I don't think it requires too much faffing about to cut to the chase, ditch the unnecessary barriers of belief and outrage for the sake of outrage and give attention to the needs and wishes of the terminally ill individuals themselves. They do have rights, and if they do not, why do they not, because they should have. Why are those rights taken from them by those who are not in their position and have no idea what it is like to suffer extreme pain all the time, or be stuffed into a ward and hooked up to machines without any hope of ever being cured.


    Am I just too Scandinavian for this discussion, or are there others out there who can look at this issue without all the emotional baggage and just think about the terminally ill people themselves? To me, the answer is simple. If they have got to the stage where living is a curse to them and all they think of is being released, then release them, with their blessing. If you have to do it without their blessing because they have deteriorated so far they are not really with us anymore, then do it for them by making an intelligently compassionate decision.


    As they do also in Switzerland. I have a friend whose terminally ill mother was assisted to die some years ago now in the Netherlands. She got what she wanted and her family were all there when she departed. I heard the whole experience with my own ears from the daughter. It sealed my belief that this is the way to go.

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore

  • I don't see it as a can of worms. If someone is conscious and has given signed permission in a will or document of some kind that permission to end life support or apply euthanasia by a medical professional, I don't see the can of worms problem.

    Under those specified conditions, I fully agree.


    If the will was signed, the disease is terminal, but it has got to the state where the person is not conscious, what then?

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  • People who kill others for insurance money or because they want to be rid of them are murderers and this isn't likely to go unnoticed and goes on apace today with or without the legal death issue of assisted suicide.

    I'll come back to this later.

    When someone is in a wheelchair, can hardly function anymore, needs assisted breathing apparatus and is keen to journey on (in other words to die), why is there such a performance about it? The person is going to die anyway at some stage and forcing them to continue is cruel and fascist.

    I agree.

    I am surprised at how quickly the powers that be will sign into existence a legal injunction to ban religious jewellery or clothing, to prevent gender stereotyping in adverts, to enforce political correctness across the board, etc, but they hum and they ha over terminally folk who are suffering 24/7 and just want to leave us earlier than would happen if they were forced to endure the full run of whatever is killing them. It is, after all, their choice most of the time.

    That's the whole point of yet another court case, it is not their decision and especially so if they wish someone to end their lives for them. Don't forget under UK law, if you make an attempt to kill yourself and fail, you have committed an offence.

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  • Horizon, am I correct in thinking you just said that someone who intends to kill themselves but fails is considered by law to have committed an offence? Anyone, not just terminally ill individuals?

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

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  • Horizon, am I correct in thinking you just said that someone who intends to kill themselves but fails is considered by law to have committed an offence? Anyone, not just terminally ill individuals?

    As far I know LW, it's illegal here for anyone to kill themselves. I'll check, but I'm not aware the law has changed on this. If you try to kill yourself, whether by pills, throw yourself off a bridge etc and fail, you can be arrested and charged.


    When people used to go to Switzerland to die and if they were assisted by relatives, when those relatives came back into the UK, some of them were arrested.


    Edit: No, I'm wrong. I'm just looking at the law now.

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  • As far as suicide goes, it is not illegal for someone to kill themselves under The Suicide Act 1961 which made it legal. A BBC article about it here.


    Assisted suicide is a totally different matter and is still illegal under UK law. There was a famous case called "Purdy" which was the last major case to look at this and a explanation of what the UK law is and how it's applied is here.


    As far as helping to take someone abroad to die, although this illegal to assist in this, the UK authorities have not successfully prosecuted anyone and would probably be unlikely to gain a prosecution now.

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  • There is the other issue of when the condition has advanced so far that the patient is not conscious, or mentally capable, and there are no relatives from whom to gain permission to end life. This would be a medical issue and doctors trained in the needs and psychology of the terminally ill would be able to make this decision. I have noticed that when they do, there is an outcry that they have "killed" someone. Well, yes, they have, to put it bluntly, but what they have really done is release that unfortunate individual from further suffering.

    I can say first hand what happens to the elderly whether they have dementia or not, they are not "killed" but left to rot instead.


    Nursing care for the elderly and specifically for those with end stage dementia is abysmal, and the elderly are not fed, toileted or given liquids. In effect they are left to die of thirst and hunger in their own faceas. I will get into this more in my social care thread at a future time.


    I can not speak of other terminally ill people, as I do not have experience of these situations. I know terminally ill cancer patients, in lots of cases, are well treated and usually go into hospices to die where they are given good care.


    To take your points LW, if the patient is not conscious, or mentally capable, and there are no relatives around, a terminally ill patient should be given a lethal injection in my view. For one reason, as explained next.

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  • Yes, I know about the hapless loved ones who accompany terminally ill people to Switzerland. It's quite mad to arrest them. As if they don't have enough anguish having to say goodbye, they have to be persecuted by the state for it as well.


    They are debating the issue in SA and I hope we can make it legal sometime for assisted suicide for terminally ill people. We already have gay marriage and in the Western Cape the law has relented on cannabis for personal use as chasing around after individual users is a waste of police time and money.

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore

  • There is also the financial issue of spending really large amounts of tax payers' funds on hopeless medical cases, many of whom want to die but are not allowed to, have got too ill to do it themselves, and are in the dreadful position of having to wait for some deity to act or for Nature to take its inevitable course. They become victims of public hysteria.

    I think the financial issue is a major one and I will get back into more in response to your second paragraph of post #7. But, we do need to be very careful that ending someone's life is done for the terminally ill person's own welfare, not purely for financial reasons.

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  • Yes, I know about the hapless loved ones who accompany terminally ill people to Switzerland. It's quite mad to arrest them. As if they don't have enough anguish having to say goodbye, they have to be persecuted by the state for it as well.

    It's gone all quiet about Switzerland now. The Swiss were considering changing their laws on assisted suicide, so I don't know what the latest situation is. I've not heard of any recent cases of people from the UK going to Switzerland to die.

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  • I don't think it requires too much faffing about to cut to the chase, ditch the unnecessary barriers of belief and outrage for the sake of outrage and give attention to the needs and wishes of the terminally ill individuals themselves. They do have rights, and if they do not, why do they not, because they should have. Why are those rights taken from them by those who are not in their position and have no idea what it is like to suffer extreme pain all the time, or be stuffed into a ward and hooked up to machines without any hope of ever being cured.

    I think there are lots of reasons why this matter has not been dealt with sooner. I suppose, in part, there used to be fewer terminally ill people whose life was prolonged with medicines or machines. It used to be if you got really ill, you died. Now, you could be kept alive for a considerable amount of time. Someone should ask why that is, especially if the person is in pain.


    As you say, it should be the right of a individual to decide and at least in the UK now, the religious argument has evaporated along with religion itself.

    As they do also in Switzerland. I have a friend whose terminally ill mother was assisted to die some years ago now in the Netherlands. She got what she wanted and her family were all there when she departed. I heard the whole experience with my own ears from the daughter. It sealed my belief that this is the way to go.

    I agree. Dogs are treated better than humans. The one major caveat I would add here, is that even when in pain, many people who are having ineffective chemotherapy or other treatments for aggressive cancers or other diseases, do not want to die and want to cling onto life at all costs, even if it means extreme pain for themselves.


    The argument to be had, is what about those that don't want to cling on and want to be set free. What about them and their rights?

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  • Am I just too Scandinavian for this discussion, or are there others out there who can look at this issue without all the emotional baggage and just think about the terminally ill people themselves? To me, the answer is simple. If they have got to the stage where living is a curse to them and all they think of is being released, then release them, with their blessing. If you have to do it without their blessing because they have deteriorated so far they are not really with us anymore, then do it for them by making an intelligently compassionate decision.

    I agree. Couldn't put it better myself.


    As to you being Scandinavian... I've only known you for six months now, so, a very short period of time, but, going by all your posts on here, there is one thing I can be pretty confident. I don't think anyone would ever confuse you for a Scandinavian or have Scandinavian thinking.:)

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  • I'm half Scandinavian and my Nordic side is very similar to my Anglo-Saxon side possibly because these two ethnicities are closely related. In many ways I have the Scandinavian ancient worldview. There is a huge difference between the way the Norse went after conversion and the way they would have been had that catastrophe not finally put paid to their soul fire. All Germanics, and a lot of Slavs, have a similar sort of worldview when it comes to the way we interact with the natural world.


    As I am of a spiritual view that considers the soul to be a possibility and the ancestors to be the most significant aspect of our physical reality, I don't find sending anyone home by euthanasia to be a problem. Keeping them alive when they want to be gone is a much bigger problem to me.


    If someone is mad keen to go on living and will try anything to stay alive, then I would wish them well and hope they succeed. I am not one of those, so I don't in the least mind dying. In fact I was determined to go when I was sixteen. I decided not to but the time may come again when I feel that I have had enough. This tends to give a lot of people the collywobbles but for me, it isn't a big deal.

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore

  • Now, that you've said it, yes, I do remember you talking about your Scandinavian lineage. Although, haven spoken to you over these last six months, my perception of you is very different from that of a uber liberal Scandinavian.


    I think they do lack some common sense in some areas and are far too liberal on some things, where as you are a realist and see things for what they are, not, what they're not.


    I'll come back to the second paragraph of your main post another time, as I want to think a little about it.

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  • I'm not a liberal. The Scandinavians aren't liberals either in their DNA. They are today the result of Protestantism on steroids and a dread of being thought of as Hitler's idea of the pure Aryan. It has caused them to go into humanist overdive. It will take time to work itself out of the folksoul. Whether it will do so in time is a moot point. One could say the same for the British, both Saxon and Celt.


    I blame an inability to make self directed intelligently compassionate decisions (immigration, refugeeism, assisted suicide, abortion, drugs, prostitution, etc) on this ghastly anomaly of a loss of identity compounded with an implanted sense of guilt and obligation (a false identity) and I hope it will devolve itself out of existence soon. Or these two types are doomed.


    My Icelandic grandmother, for example, was nothing like most modern Icelanders. It's way past time for northern Europeans to wake up and smell the dung heap.

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  • I've added a poll to the original post of this thread.


    Please cast your vote.

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  • I've just voted - but I would have preferred the option to clarify that it was principally for those who are suffering from an incurable disease.

  • You just did there Stevlin, so that's clear to all.


    I voted not sure. Like you, I think for a incurable disease, then perhaps it should be legal, but it will open the flood gates. Once something is legal, that's it, that's a massive change forever. So, I want to think more on it and perhaps come back to this in a few weeks.

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  • You just did there Stevlin, so that's clear to all.


    I voted not sure. Like you, I think for a incurable disease, then perhaps it should be legal, but it will open the flood gates. Once something is legal, that's it, that's a massive change forever. So, I want to think more on it and perhaps come back to this in a few weeks.

    I can't see why it will open the flood gates. There's a chance the legislation will be poorly drawn up but unlikely since I can't imagine it being rushed through parliament somehow. Which is a good thing of course.

  • Because people who are terminally ill may feel pressurised, or worse, be pressurised into euthanasia for reasons such as inheritance, or someone wanting a "quick" dispatch of their partner, so they can move on and get another one.

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  • Because people who are terminally ill may feel pressurised, or worse, be pressurised into euthanasia for reasons such as inheritance, or someone wanting a "quick" dispatch of their partner, so they can move on and get another one.

    I'm fairly sure people like that will find a way to get what they want, they obviously have no regard for the law anyway.

  • I would be for assisted suicide for people who are terminally ill as long as proper safeguards are in place, say the agreement of three doctors. However, what would concern me is the example of abortions. As far as I understand it, originally to get a termination as they are called now, a girl went to her doctor, got a referral letter to the hospital and another doctor examined the girl and might agree that continuing the pregnancy would lead to harm for the child or the mother.

    However, nowadays it seems it's done on a nod and a wink basis and terminations are available on demand.


    Should assisted suicide ever become legal, the last thing we want is relatives bribing private doctors to say Uncle Festus is in great pain and is going to be dead by Christmas anyway when he's just made a new will in their favour.

  • I'm fairly sure people like that will find a way to get what they want, they obviously have no regard for the law anyway.

    I agree, but this law could make that a lot easier.


    I would be for assisted suicide for people who are terminally ill as long as proper safeguards are in place, say the agreement of three doctors.

    I agree with that, and as I know from recent personal experince, it is now standard practive that critical decisopms are made by a team of doctors, so you can't just have one senior doctor dominating everything.


    Should assisted suicide ever become legal, the last thing we want is relatives bribing private doctors to say Uncle Festus is in great pain and is going to be dead by Christmas anyway when he's just made a new will in their favour.

    Exactly.


    What I have seen in old people's homes and hospitals is eye opener, to put it mildly.


    The assumption that relatives would automatically act in their "loved" ones interests is a fallacy, which is why I voted don't know.


    Once something is legal, regardless of the safeguards in place, there is no turning back.

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  • Call me a pessimist but people in that condition are not missing anything of they die, no matter who pulls the plug on them. Most of them complain that they want to go and many would be only too happy if you flipped the switch or helped them to leave their predicament. This doesn't have anything to do with murder. It would be very difficult for murder to be committed under a strict system of multiple professional opinions and a signed approval form.


    There comes a time in a sufferer's existence when they just want to go. This I have witnessed in both people and animals. I don't know why we can't just grant them their most fervent wish. I remember my father lying in the clinic just before he departed for Valhalla, and there was a serious case of emphysema in the bed next to him, who died. I remember my father saying, "He's lucky!"

    The vagabond who's rapping at your door

    Is standing in the clothes that you once wore