Pratchett criticises new guidelines on assisted suicide

One of my favourite authors Sir Terry Pratchett spoke out today at new guidelines released from the director of public prosecutions.

” If the individual wanting to die was deemed competent enough and had a “clear and settled” wish to make such a decision. Particular attention would be paid to issues such as being under 18, and having a mental illness. “

Though, to say new guidelines is not quite right. Apparently various aspects of each case will be looked into, whether there was a financial motive and a closer look into how the decision to die was made. Regardless of these ‘additions’ there has been no change whatsoever in the law with respects to how it is dealt with in this country. Assisting suicide is illegal and carries a jail term of up to 14 years.

Whether this clarification of the law will manifest itself in the form of merely leaner jail terms for specific cases or actual dismissals after police investigations is yet to be seen but seems doubtful. The new framework will take effect immediately although the final version of the policy is not expected to be published until spring.

More than 100 Britons with terminal or incurable illnesses have gone to the Swiss centre Dignitas to die. None of the relatives and friends involved in the cases have been prosecuted but there are no guarantees against prosecution in this country. That was the message Keir Starmer QC, the director of public prosecutions, wanted to get across. His clarification of the guidelines does seem to be at least a step in the right direction when he says he says:

“It is my job to ensure that the most vulnerable people are protected while at the same time giving enough information to those people, like Ms Purdy, who want to be able to make informed decisions about what actions they choose to take.”

I can say that I think people should be able to die, under specific circumstances and if it is their certain choice to do so. One thing everyone should be damn sure of is that they own their life. I’m not suggesting every suicide since the year dot was the right decision for him or her but I do think a closely documented case should be sensitively put forward and received for each individual.

Is there a more fundamental human right than your own life?

Quotes from Assisted suicide law ‘clarified’, Nick Triggle, BBC © News.

You can find more information on what the prosecution consider and a Q&A on a assisted suicide on the BBC © website.

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One Comment

  1. Peter
    September 30, 2009

    Hmm… I read blogs on a similar topic, but I’ve never visited your blog. I add it to my favorites and i’ll be your constant reader.

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