Suicide pressure

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Peter Warren’s confidence that none would feel pressurised to die if assisted suicide were 
legalised (Letters, 16 January) is misplaced.

No law can prevent impatient relatives, watching substantial inheritances evaporate in care fees, from wishing that Granny would bring things to a conclusion a bit sooner.

No law can prevent a woman from resenting having to care for her dec­lining husband when he could have decided to make an earlier exit, like the man next door did.

No law can prevent vulnerable people from picking up on this feeling, even if it is not art­iculated directly. If relatives give no indication of a desire to see someone dead, still the person may assume such a desire and feel guilty for failing to fulfil it.

If we, as a society, endorse suicide as a valid option, we create a culture where each of us must justify our decision to keep living. Some ethics “experts”
already talk about a “duty to die” when we become emotionally, physically or financially “burdensome”.

Supporters of assisted suicide are usually reluctant to answer this question: should teenagers be taught that suicide can be a valid option when facing certain difficult situations? I say No. They must answer “Yes”.

Richard Lucas

Broomyknowe

Edinburgh

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