Monday, September 14, 2015

I support the idea for assisted dying but not right now. Here's why.

I realise I'm a bit late to the party but here are a few thoughts about the now rejected assisted dying bill. (As usual all thoughts are my own)

To be honest I'm in favour of assisted dying. If you won't get better and you know it and that is what you want to do then I have no problem with that. I would do it myself. It must always be a person's choice they must be able to clearly make that choice clear. That however does not mean that I am in favour of assisted dying right now. And I'm actually relieved that it didn't pass at this moment and I'll explain why.

People love to throw around the expression slippery slope, in this case, as if that people will inevitably move towards euthanasia or to the impoverished pressuring their older or sicker family members to discreetly and voluntarily die. I think the first idea is too morally linear and there are so many people who still seem to believe that people shouldn't have control over their own life and death, preferring instead to delegate it to fate, god or whatever. Believing in this idea of an infantile humanity that cannot take charge of its own destiny seems to me very retrograde and I just don't agree with it. If a person is of sound mind and knows there is no holding back the inevitable let them do what they want. It is actually the second point about families pressuring their family members to die that troubles me more.

If you want to talk about real slippery slopes we need to look at the UK's gradual steps towards removing support for the chronically sick, the old and the disabled, as well as a more worrying stride towards private healthcare. If we managed healthcare properly balancing carefully between preventive checks and education on health matters as well as comprehensive relief from the burdens of care and costs thereof I could support assisted dying tomorrow. The fact that we are now sliding towards more costs for illness and even something as heinous as the American system that financially penalises the sick (although makes for great television ala Breaking Bad) and the disabled is troubling even without the idea of assisted dying.

Being sick isn't your fault and shouldn't be treated as such; neither is being disabled or having a terminal illness. Charities pick up a lot of the slack (from experience I cannot highly praise St Christopher's enough) for people suffering at the end but we should be providing more non-profit and government support for these issues. However until we decisively move away from the current model which we seem to be having imposed in the UK we shouldn't have assisted dying.

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