The BBC showed a programme about euthanasia last night. I appreciate that sometimes life doesn’t seem worth living. But suicide & euthanasia are not the answer. Life is so short. There is so much pleasure & pain in life. So many ups & downs.
On the Today programme this morning (Tuesday 14th of June) there was a discussion involving Michael Nazir-Ali & Christine Jackson a woman suffering from terminal cancer. Understandably she was in favour of euthanasia. I understand that & I respect her & her views. But I thought that the bishop won the argument hands down. It is a grim idea to suggest that life should end prematurely & deliberately & it has repercussion both for the relatives of the sufferers & for society in general. As Bishop Michael said, what place does the human being have in society if life is held in such little regard that it can be so easily discarded?
Bishop Michael referred a couple of times to the hospice movement. I know from my own experience what wonderful work is done in hospices, I know that the dying can end their days at peace. Both my parents died in a hospice, a different hospice in fact. They were helped to the nth degree by the wonderful staff. I really don’t know how they coped with the stress of knowing that soon the people in their care would soon be no longer of this world. As Bishop Michael said there should be a programme about the wonderful work which hospices do. But don’t we just know that this isn’t going to happen. It just isn’t dramatic enough television. I gather the programme actually showed a man dying & I gather he was refused water as he was dying.
The fact is that we all die. It is all a matter of when & we have to think about it, both the moral & practical aspects. I personally believe that there is nothing wrong with leading a long & productive life or indeed a long & maybe not so productive life. I do not want to die before my time. I want to make it clear to one & all that I do not want to end my life prematurely whatever disease I may or may not have. We seek to prevent death by disease yet there are moves afoot to legalise euthanasia. It is not just incurable diseases which lead people to conclude that they want to die. Many who have been dissuaded from suicide have later on in their lives been grateful that they didn’t end their lives thus. There is also the point that there may be a cure in the not too distant future for diseases for which there is none at the moment.