Belfast Telegraph

Home Opinion Letters

Helping humans to die shouldn't be a crime

Suicide is not a crime in this country (News, January 6). If I want to commit suicide tonight I could, whether I am terminally or chronically ill - or physically extremely fit but just don't want to live anymore.

As it happens, I don't want to end my life right at this moment. But, if I were to become severely disabled - say completely paralysed from my neck down - I might want to.

However, I wouldn't be able to because of my condition, and, unlike all the other help I would need - which would be provided as a matter of course - nobody would be able to help me. How unfair and discriminatory is that?

How can it be justified that able-bodied people can put an end to their lives freely and without discussion, but those who are unlucky enough to need physical help cannot?

Do we really think that Stephen Hawking can't make up his own mind? Who needs that freedom to make a very important decision most? Those who can but don't 'need' to, or those who would dearly like to but can't?

Unless we start to think with reason about what the real issues are surrounding assisted suicide, we will forever be embroiled in emotive details that will get us precisely nowhere.


By e-mail


From Belfast Telegraph