Clarity is called for….

Alot of column inches have rightly been occupied by the success of Debbie Purdy in the Law Lords and the implications this now has for the legal status of euthanasia. I think that whichever side of the debate you actually are on there should be agreement that legal clarity on the matter is desirable indeed.

The state and politicians have no right to impose their individual moral determinations on society at large but equally their is a duty to care and protection and this is essentially what has to be balanced. I think both sides have a case; on the one hand there is a clear and present danger that the state legally enshrining a right to die would put vulnerable people at risk. However, and equally, I think there are cases where terminally ill patients have had their passing eased and the people who have done so are not in my eyes criminals nor should they be treated as such. Nor should they have to live in fear of prosecution for performing an act of what essentially boils down to mercy.

What is therefore required from the law therefore is to accurately strike this balance; vulnerable people need to be protected from undue pressure but people who have euthanised people only to ease suffering and with clearly determined consent need protection also. In other words what is needed is a clear, tight and precise legal definition of when it is acceptable for terminally ill people to consensually end their own lives and safeguards which prevent that consent being manufactured or the product of force. The freedom of the individual needs to be balanced with the need for the protection of the many.

I don’t think there are any easy or ‘absolutely’ right answers in this debate (or absolutely wrong ones either); all I think that can be done is that people within politics have to reason there way to a situation where the law reflects the need to balance the different concerns and fulfills its obligations on both sides of the equation.

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About darrellgoodliffe

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