Speaking for the majority

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 21.22.38This weekend, the influential (and, surprisingly, moderately rightwing) newspaper, The Economist, takes a strong stance in favour of assisted suicide, proclaiming,

Most people in the Western world favour assisted suicide. The law should reflect their will.”

It describes the horror suffered by Tony Nicklinson, paralysed by a stroke. (After being denied the right to die by Britain’s high court in 2012, he refused food and finally succumbed to pneumonia.) It discusses the objections one by one, and answers them. In the case of strongly held religious objections, for instance, it rests with common sense and says that, “In a pluralistic society, the views of one religion should not be imposed on everybody.”

The Economist praises the Swiss model (free for the Swiss, but prohibitively expensive for most foreigners who want to travel there). It concludes that although the current bill in the House of Lords would make assisted suicide legal in Britain for the first time, it does not go far enough, but that gradualism is appropriate to allow increased public support for further liberalisation. “We hope that it passes,” says this most level-headed of newspapers. “On such an emotive and contentious issue politicians should reflect society, not lead it.”

Jo Beecham, a woman diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in 2011, “keeps a stock of poison in her fridge,” says The Economist.” What they don’t mention is the difficulty of obtaining and ingesting a reliably lethal and painless poison. Suicide sounds easy: with more than thirty years of research that this organization has seen, we have to point out that often it is not.

Readers of the ExitEuthanasia Blog may be interested in our work researching the strengths and pitfalls of methods of rationally ending one’s own life. Here is a taster of our print journal. It features both academic and light reading but, most essentially, tips and research to supplement our books on self-deliverance.

(from the contents of the 2014 Summer Issue) –

STAR IN YOUR OWN EXIT We talk about our famous full-day empowerment workshops where people learn the techniques in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.
SIGNATURE SUICIDE FOR A RATIONAL PERSON The first of this issue’s articles that looks at double suicides, plus the aesthetics and personal touches for helium, compression and other methods of dignified death. Following reader requests, we also consider research on a more controversial means – that of firearms.
DEATH: CAN IT BE A WINNING GOAL OF LIFE? What did the World Cup have to do with facing death? Inspiration from Neymar’s remarkable ability to score winning goals under pressure!
LONDON THEATRES ASK IF THERE’S A RIGHT TO DIE Theatre finds a way to stimulate, not preach.
NU-TECH – EXIT REPRESENTED ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE A brief mention on the coming conference at the World Federation of Right to Die Societies.
BOB’s STORY – an end to life in the Central Valley sunset.
HUMOUR – keeping the blues away.
SHARING LIFE EXPERIENCES (editorial on dehydration, thoughts of death)
WHAT WOULD YOU DO? LET THE INDIVIDUAL DECIDE – A joint self-deliverance with helium raises interesting questions.
AGM REPORT & reactions to the thought-provoking and controversial short film “Relics.”
HOW TO DO AND HOW NOT TO DO IT –A VISUAL GUIDE
TIPS AND TRICKS: for helium, drugs, and compression.
QUOTE/UNQUOTE – sayings to think about
IT TAKES ALL SORTS – The very unusual funeral of Mr Hunter S Thompsom
EXIT’S SELF-DELIVERANCE WORK REMEMBERED 1985 – 2014.

This week also sees one of the last taboos against assisted death tackled in one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary academic journals. In the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, a Special Section addresses “Pathologizing Suffering and the Pursuit of a Peaceful Death.” Medical Law expert, Ben A. Rich points out that psychiatry has made strong inroads into hospice and palliative care, but has also brought with it a conviction that dying patients who seek to end their suffering by asserting control over the time and manner of their inevitable death should be provided with psychotherapeutic measures rather than having their express wishes respected. He critiques that approach from the perspective of recent clinical data indicating that patients who obtain and use a lethal prescription are generally exercising an autonomous choice, unencumbered by clinical depression or other forms of mental illness.

The excuses are running out. When Nicklinson heard that his appeal had been refused by the courts, we saw this grown man break down in tears, even though he could barely move. Such things should not happen.

 

Links:
http://www.economist.com
http://journals.cambridge.org
http://relicsfilm.com/tagged/look

Join Exit: http://www.euthanasia.cc/new_app.html

 

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