Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Right to die??

. Tonight the death of Craig Ewert, 59, from Harrogate, North Yorks, will form part of a Sky 'Real Lives' TV program. Obviously this has caused much controversy and was even raised at PMQ's earlier; euthanasia is one of those issues that it is very hard to have a proper debate about because of the obvious 'heavy-loading' of emotions. It is a tricky issue for liberals because on the one hand we have the issue of freedom of choice for an individual versus the possibility of inappropriate use of that freedom.

Life always has to mean, to me at least, something that is qualitative as much as quantitative ie, it cant just be a biological criterion. For a human and indeed other consciously aware animals there is more to life than simply existing; there is sense and feeling, pleasure and pain etc. If you start from that premise then there is a strong case for euthanasia under tightly controlled conditions. It is an argument that starts from the premise of defending the right to life as actually meaning something more.

Obviously, regulation would have to be watertight to ensure the patient was of a sound state of mind and that medically there was no chance of a recovery and that the discomfort of the patient was sufficient to reduce their quality of life to a point where, frankly, dying would be the more peaceful option. Iain Dale debates the rights and wrongs of actually showing the program on his blog; whatever it's effect hopefully it will start a wide-ranging debate...

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