Assisted suicide

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An EXAMINATION of the two letters against assisted suicide (27 April) reveals inconsistencies among its opponents. Bill MacDonald, opposing the involvement of “the medical profession” in bringing about the patient’s death, says: “It is open to all to stop eating and drinking.” In other words, those who seek an end to life may be allowed to starve and dehydrate themselves to death. That is, I believe, the current legal position.

The Rev Dr Donald M MacDonald says: “The law exists to protect the vulnerable and the legalisation of assisted suicide would put many vulnerable people at risk as society’s attitudes towards life and death change.”

If we go with that, then the law should presumably disallow the refusal of sustenance and medical treatment, as well as the active assistance of another, since the spectre of undue pressure so often invoked against assisted suicide is also relevant to the refusal of treatment and sustenance.

A notable feature of those who argue against assisted suicide is that they are never willing to allow the individual sufferer to decide for themselves according to his or her own conscience, but try very hard to present assisted suicide as a threat to everyone.

Paul Brownsey

Larchfield Road

Bearsden, Glasgow