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Thursday, July 30, 2009

 

A Major Step Forward for Right-to-Die Movement in Britain

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Debbie Purdy * Dr. Anne Turner * Craig Ewert * Daniel James * Sir Robert and Lady Downes

Slowly, yes, but supporters of Right-to-Die movement in Britain are making progress in their efforts to gain recognition of an individual's decision to end his or her life.

Report in the Guardian, Thursday 30 July 2009:





Britian's highest court issued a historic judgment today that could finally remove the fear of prosecution from people who travel abroad to support relatives seeking an assisted suicide.

In a unanimous ruling, the law lords ordered the director of public prosecutions to immediately draw up a policy that would spell out when prosecutions would and would not be pursued.

The ruling was strongly in favour of Debbie Purdy, 46, who has multiple sclerosis and who has been fighting to protect her husband should he accompany her to a clinic in Switzerland that specialises in euthanasia. She had argued that the law was unclear and uncertainty surrounding the issue breached her human rights.

Other notable cases of British citizens who elected euthanasia:

Hannah Jones
Dr. Anne Turner
Craig Ewert
Daniel James
Sir Edward Downes and Lady Downes

Here in America we, who believe in a "A good life and a good death", are a long way from gaining our objective. The state of Oregon was the first to pass a Death with Dignity Act in 1994. The law survived the Bush Administration's efforts to nullify it. To their credit, the voters of Washington State passed Initiative 1000 (modeled on the Oregon Law) in 2008. But in California attempts to pass a similar initiative were defeated -- twice -- due to huge sums of money spent by religious organizations and other vested interest groups. Terminally ill patients generate a lot of revenue for hospital and medical professionals. The blitz of negative advertisements worked. They painted a scenario of terminally ill people being taken off life support en masse based on decisions by those who stood to gain from their death. Lost in the noise were those who did not believe in death being in God's hand and who wanted to have the choice not to be kept alive on life support.

The battle is not over. Some day, all terminally ill people suffering pain and indignity of being kept alive against their wish will win the right to die.

But until then, if you believe in it and don't want to end your life hooked up to tubes, sign Advance Directive to Physician (Living Will) to protect yourself from the Bible thumpers and profiteers. Also, make your position known to your family and friends.

You will not need an attorney; just two witnesses. The form is available from various sources. The World Wide Web contains a vast list of organizations that provide information about this. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is one of them.

Do not lose control over this very important decision.

Recommended reading:

How We Die : Reflections on Life's Final Chapter by Sherwin B. Nuland,MD, Vintage Paperback
On Death and Dying by Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross, The MacMillan Co.
Final Exit by Derek Humphrey, Dell Publishing
Euthanasia and the Right to Die edited by A.B. Dowling, Peter Owen, London

*****




Comments:
The alternative, which is already legal: refuse food and fluid, which can be comfortable and peaceful. See: "The BEST WAY to Say Goodbye: A Legal Peaceful Choice at the End of Life" (2007), and "Peaceful Transitions: An Ironclad Strategy to Die When and How YOU Want" (2009).

For a Living Will to accomplish this, especially in Advanced Dementia, see www.MyWayCards.com.
 
Thank you for your comments.

The thought that occurs is how many terminally ill people can "refuse food and fluid". And what about being fed intravenously?
 
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