Birmingham,The Stirrer, Black Country

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond



Most people seem to accept that if you want to end your own life because of a serious illness or injury, you should be able to do so. So why hasn’t anything been done about it asks Barbara Panvel?

Noel Martin from Edgbaston, who was attacked by racists whilst working in Germany as a plasterer and was left with severe spinal injuries, plans to travel to Dignitas in Switzerland where he will be helped to end his life.

An increasing number of people from Britain, living in acute pain or completely dependent on others are doing this, but all would rather end their days here and hope to see the law changed in this country.

Mr Martin was speaking on last Sunday’s Politics Show [West Midlands], which focussed on Lord Joffe’s bill to legalise assisted dying. In the programme and email comments some misunderstanding of the proposal emerged: in assisted dying the action is taken by the patient; the doctor providing a reliable means to end life at the patient’s request.

This is not euthanasia, which means the ending of a person’s life by another’s act.

Support for this civilised measure is growing. Pulse magazine’s recent survey showed that now over 40% of doctors would be prepared to assist people with a terminal condition who wanted to die; and over 80% of the public want to see assisted dying legalised as it is in some other countries.

The West Midlands Politics Show poll showed over 70 % in favour of legalising assisted dying.

Professor Raymond Tallis, Chair of the Committee on Ethical Issues in Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians, was opposed to assisted dying but changed his mind after visiting Oregon and seeing how it worked there.

He noted that the individuals he met who have opted for this assistance in future are not weak-minded, easily influenced personalities as feared, but the most independent and ‘feisty’.

Lord Joffe’s earlier bill was opposed by a well-organised Christian lobby. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Hereford say that life is a gift from God and so opposed the bill. But why should minority beliefs be imposed on others?

If religious people believe it is wrong to take their own lives, fine - they are free to abide by their beliefs. But why should these be imposed on those who do not share them?

Humanely, dogs in pain or with a poor quality of life - some with Christian owners - are put to sleep so as not to prolong their suffering.

Why should human beings asking for this help not be given the same tender treatment?


The Stirrer Forum

The Stirrer home

valid xhtml

©2006 - 2009 The Stirrer