Compassionate assisted dying

“Now, as I turn 85, with my life closer it its end than its beginning, I wish to help give people dignity in dying. Just as I have argued firmly for compassion and fairness in life, I believe that terminally ill people should be treated with the same compassion and fairness when it comes to their deaths. Dying people should have the right to choose how and when they leave Mother Earth. I believe that, alongside the wonderful palliative care that exists, their choices should include a dignifiedassisted death”. (Archbishop Desmond Tutu, quoted in the Washington Post, Oct.7, 2016).

Interestingly, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, strongly supports compassionate assisted dying as well. It is the Catholic church (not exclusively) that strongly opposes it, clinging to the old idea of the sanctity of life. This attitude was fine while lives were short and the population relatively small, but now more people are living to, and past, 100. The medical and other expenses associated with this trend are one thing, but I suspect that most old people would like a civilized release from the speed and complexity of modern life when, where and how they want it. Whether you like it or not, one gets into one’s old age and one loses energy – energy to sort out financial matters, house maintenance, the scariness of modern driving, and, most of all, the frustrations of computing. These and many others aspects of modern living cause un-needed stress. The sanctity of life crowd would make them put up and shut up. So much for christian loving kindness!

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