More MS news articles for Aug 2001

IoS Poll: Euthanasia

Aug 26, 2001
Independent on Sunday - United Kingdom

Diane Pretty, who suffers from motor neurone disease, began her legal battle last week to try to establish that her husband will not be prosecuted if he helps her to commit suicide. We asked: should people have the right to die when they choose?

Yes 85% No 15%

'A reluctant yes. But it must always be in the context of the best possible care being provided if the person wishes to see it out to the bitter end. I worry that we may make euthanasia an automatic choice when for many people it's not really what they want.'

"I would hate to see euthanasia implemented. I'm afraid that it would be terribly abused for selfish reasons and perhaps financial ones, too. Being a Christian, I don't think it's a decision that humans should be making."

'If you have religious beliefs, fine. But what about those who have no religious or spiritual beliefs whatsoever? Why should any ethical questions which have any form of spiritual dimension apply to them?'

"It should ultimately be my choice whether I live or die. My best friend's aunt has multiple sclerosis. She knows she is facing a future of having her basic bodily functions taken care of by someone else, of having to move from her home to somewhere where more intensive care can be offered. In the face of it all she copes very well. But if that were to happen to me I would want to have the legal choice to end my life if and when it gets too much."

'I would say yes, with reservations. The difficulty is that each situation needs to be judged on an individual basis. I would be concerned that if we set a legal precedent by saying yes, it is OK for your partner, doctor or nearest relative to help you die, then there would inevitably be abuses.'

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