Ian McEwan joins the call for law reform

Man Booker prize winner and the author of the books behind such movies as Atonement and Enduring Love, urges David Cameron to reform the law and allow assisted suicide

Best selling author Ian McEwan has joined other prominent celebrities in calling for legislation to allow terminally ill patients to receive medical help to die. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he spoke of his desire to control his own ‘last chapter,’ and described watching his mother deteriorate with dementia. McEwan, 62, was moved to come out in support after his family doctor and life-long friend, Ann McPherson, began campaigning to revise the 1961 Suicide Act. Dr McPherson is terminally ill with pancreatic cancer. “Ann is dying and she is doing it with extraordinary grace and dignity,” said McEwan. “That’s not to say she isn’t terrified like anyone else, or in pain and discomfort and wishing it would all go away, but she has been quite inspirational.” McEwan, unlike Exit, wants a new law permitting assisted dying only to “people who are about to die anyway, who may well die in great pain and would rather make a good end, surrounded by the people they love.” (Exit believes the parameters should be unbearable and unrelievable suffering, rather than the less definable ‘terminal’ illness.) Several of McEwan’s novels have featured characters who are terminally ill. In Saturday, the central character, Henry Perowne, is a neurosurgeon, while Enduring Love features a science writer who is stalked by a delusional man. His novel, Amsterdam, which won the Booker Prize, opens with the funeral of Molly, who has died from a rapidly deteriorating brain condition, and ends among the euthanasia clinics in Holland. He believes that that the growth in so-called ‘death tourism,’ with unrelievably ill Britons travelling to suicide clinics in Switzerland, robs people of their dignity. “The issue is not really of death but of how you live out that last chapter, those last sentences,” he said. “To do it calmly with all the people around you that have mattered and you love, in familiar surroundings should be a wonderful thing.” McEwan’s inspiration (Mail online) “Change the law” (The Telegraph) Ian McEwan (on Wiki)

In our post called From Barcelona to Basel (13th Jan), the figures we published for assisted deaths by country of origin were incorrect. The correct figures can now be accessed from the amended post via a link to the Dignitas website. Exit apologises for any confusion.

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One Response to Ian McEwan joins the call for law reform

  1. Marlene George says:

    Why, oh why, must these otherwise clear thinking, compassionate people not just let go of that last boogie man? Assisted suicide only available to the terminally ill. Why? In this day and age, surely it is time to let the folks decide when, where and if they have had enough of this ‘life’. I am sickened to death (I should be so lucky) of others telling me that I should live in a grief stricken, miserable existence because it doesn’t suit their way of thinking that I desire to end my life now?

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