'i will make sure the patient does not suffer.'
That the consolation offered by doctors to the relatives of the dying throughout the world. It's a confession that morphine will be used ostensibly to kill pain but in quantities that are lethal.
We are indebted to Debbie Purdy for her brave successful campaign. Her eloquent testimony that she is fighting for life eclipses the sour faces of those that are denying the majority the right to die at times and in circumstances of their own choice..
In 2001 I asked Tony Blair at PM Question Time to intervene to help Mrs Diane Pretty. She had motor neurone disease and was paralysed from the neck down. She was challenging the refusal of the Director of Public Prosecutions to rule out taking criminal proceedings against her husband if he helped her die.
I asked Tony “Should Mrs Pretty have the right to die in the manner and time of her choice. Do you think it's time for review of the Suicide Act?" His reply was "I'm not in favour of reviewing that legislation. I understand the very strong feelings it arouses."
I presume his judgment was determined by his strong religious views that were undeclared then. There is no objection to anyone’s conscientious objection to euthanasia. They have that right for themselves and their loved ones. I question their right to impose those views on all the rest of us. Diane Pretty died a year later in circumstances that were not of her choice.
At various times over the past 20 years, I have taken part in debates on this subject in Malta, Iceland, Ireland and Canada. Every time I have quoted the family doctor that my relative did not suffer. In each of those countries others said that their doctors had said the same thing to them
Euthanasia is widely practiced in the Western World uncontrolled and unregulated. Those countries that have introduced humane end of life laws are all strengthening them. In Oregon in the USA their controversial Death with Dignity laws were twice approved by an overwhelmingly majority. The Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland have legal frameworks that allow assisted dying.
A series of opinion polls in Britain has always proved than 80% of the population would like a law to allow euthanasia under controlled conditions. Other countries have pioneered this bold step. In every instance public support has grown because the feared abuse of the reforms did not happen.
We hear a great deal about many of our human rights. An important one that our timid politicians have neglected is our right to die in dignity.