Skip to content


Assisted dying seems humane, but can we protect the vulnerable from the malign?
Sonia Sodha

Next question?

12 thoughts on “No”

  1. ’ The first plausible scenario that springs to mind is a coercively controlling abusive relationship in which a man puts pressure on his female partner diagnosed with end-stage cancer to end her life.’

    Is that more plausible than if the genders were reversed?

  2. This is a rare Guardian article that acknowledges the existence of second-order effects and slippery slopes. I hope their regular readers aren’t too confused.

  3. Most proposals for reform that have been debated in parliament are for assisted dying – making it legal for doctors to help someone with a terminal illness who is likely to die within six months to end their lives

    Then there are all those tiresome old biddies that the NHS wanted rid of, so they marked their cards with DNR (“Do Not Resuscitate”) or lobbed them onto the Liverpool Pathway (to Hell, natch) without consultation with either the patient or their family.

    But no. Britain doesn’t have legalised euthanasia.

  4. JuliaM- i recall with a shudder the documentary about a swiss clinic where an Englishman with Alzheimer’s was enjoying his putative ‘last’ sunset with his wife. Then he suggested, on camera mind, they delay things a week or two…her answer “no darling” and “remember we discussed this”. So no it was.

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    There seems to be a very large subset of the progressive elite who want to tell us that its possible for people to end their lives painlessly using drugs, but at the same time condemn US states that have the death penalty by lethal injection because its impossible to kill people painlessly.

  6. Dennis, Inconveniently Noting Reality

    Assisted dying seems humane…

    The Nazis were quite enthusiastic about it, if that tells you anything.

  7. This is one of those topics where there are trade-offs to consider. Maybe we should rebalance the trade-offs by reintroducing capital punishment so that spouses and medics risk their necks by murdering the wrong old biddies.

  8. We can’t protect the vulnerable from the malign in general, so that’s not really a consideration.

    There is no way to avoid having assisted dying, as John Galt illustrates above. Many people genuinely would like to die rather than suffer bayond some point and many others are willing to assist as long as it has plausible deniability. To force people to live bayond the point where they want to die is unjustifiable cruelty. But there is a huge cost to having no way of openly assisting suicide – people with good intentions may assume that someone wants to die when they don’t (and many people say that they would want to die in some specific circumstance, but when the time comes they find it’s not intolerable as they expected), and people who suspect that a death has been assisted are reluctant to speak out on the assumption that it must have been as a result of some hidden suffering (and this is one reason why Harold Shipman could kill so many before being caught).

    It’s like prostitution and recreational drugs. However much you dislike them, you make things much worse by making them illegal.

    Assisted suicide should be legal and regulated such that we can be reasonably sure that the person really does want to die. Failure to allow it results in having assisted dying – euthanasia – whereby people are killed based on an assumption of what they want which is not subject to scrutiny.

    And, of course, it’s irrational to say that a person has the right to refuse medical treatment which would preserve their life yet has no right to choose medical treatment that would end it.

  9. Charles: To force people to live bayond the point where they want to die is unjustifiable cruelty.

    Who is doing the “forcing”?

    …this is one reason why Harold Shipman could kill so many before being caught.

    The other reasons being N, H and S. Also a lot of the people he bumped off were despatched because Shipman thought it timely rather than because they requested it.

    …it’s irrational to say that a person has the right to refuse medical treatment which would preserve their life yet has no right to choose medical treatment that would end it.

    You’re behind the times: compulsory treatment is a recent innovation thanks to “The Science”. In addition, as you point out I think, if they administer the medical treatment themselves then that is suicide but they have no right to oblige others to become complicit in their actions.

  10. @Charles – Fair enough, but being pressured to die because your running up an extortionate bill for healthcare is a problem with countries that enable it as we have seen with Canada, the Netherlands and elsewhere.

    It’s all very well saying we should provide “Dignity in dying”, but in the UK that has resulted in some people getting that, primarily through pain management whereby substantially increasing morphine levels leads to a relatively quick and painless death over days-to-weeks.

    Having no assisted dying approach, such an option allows those allowed to choose such dignity the death they want without any nasty investigations by the police of those left behind.

    But what about those who aren’t competent to make such a judgement and whose families aren’t consulted or don’t consent? What about where the patient has no competence but the family are more concerned about granny’s house (their inheritance) being consumed by massive social care bills.

    By having no legal framework for assisted dying, all of these problems remain under wraps and their practices obscured.

  11. It’s one of those areas where the well off like the status quo. They know that they will be able to be eased out by a compliant doctor. The poor just get to suffer.

    Like recreational drugs. The rich enjoy them, but the poor take all the risks. So they remain illegal, even as rife in the well off.

    NZ has an new euthanasia law. It has been scarcely used and barely raised a peep of outrage. There’s more fuss about dogs and horses being euthenised in fact.

    In the UK you will be prosecuted for leaving a farm animal in extreme pain, but also prosecuted for assisting a person in the exact same situation to die. Unless you are rich, of course. Such laws rarely apply to them

  12. My dad passed away this morning at Macclesfield General Hospital. He had Alzheimer’s and suffered a minor stroke a month ago and it was downhill from there. He took a turn for the worse about 10 days ago and was admitted to Macc General. When my mum went to see him he didn’t recognize her or my brother. I arrived last Thursday from NL and went straight to the hospital. I didn’t even recognize the man lying there. He hadn’t eaten or taken in fluids for 3 days and was on a potassium and glucose drip to prevent dehydration. We requested the doctor to issue a DNR certificate. From then on it was end of life care. Had assisted dying been available to us we would have taken that option. How it isn’t legal in UK is beyond me. Watching someone you love leave this earth in such a manner is decidedly unpleasant and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *