“Make your mind up”. “You're sitting on the fence”. The culture tends to rebuke us for uncertainty. We are supposed to know where we stand, particularly on important moral issues. But to admit that one is still on a journey and that the destination is as yet over the horizon can be difficult.
A friend of mine who uses a wheelchair was recently approached by a stranger who crossed over the road to talk to her. Without knowing anything about her, he told her that he supported her right to die with dignity through assisted suicide. She told him that she was more concerned with her right to live than her right to die.
Giles Fraser recently wrote that "assisted dying is the final triumph of market capitalism" and concluded, "When the moral history of the 21st century comes to be written, I predict we will look back with horror at how the word choice became a sort of cuckoo in the nest, driving out all other values…The moral language of the supermarket has become the only moral currency that is accepted."
Assisted suicide should be legalised for terminally ill people, according to the Commission on Assisted Dying, chaired and funded by advocates of legalising assisted dying. No doubt a commission set up by opponents would come to a contrary conclusion. Some will applaud the strict conditions proposed, others fear that such measures would in time lead to euthanasia on a wider scale.
It is disappointing, says Savi Hensman, that so many people who are passionate about the assisted dying debate (whether for or against legalisation) do not seem nearly as concerned to tackle violations of dignity which can be prevented at present.