Chantal Sebire – the right to end your life
It is simply wrong that terminally ill people not just in France, but also in the UK, who are suffering unbearably are not being given the choice to die with dignity.” (Sarry Wooton, Dignity in Dying)
Chantal Sebire is a french woman who suffers from esthesioneuroblastoma. She wants to end her life, but wishes to do so with professional medical help. The french court’s rule it is against the law, but it leaves the issue that if this life is your own do you have the right to end it in a manner that causes less suffering?
Now the issue at stake is that the law (in France and the UK) does not recognise the deliberate proactive action in ending your life. Denying life saving treatment is acceptable, having medication that has a double effect of treatment that reduces your life expectancy is acceptable. A medical intervention with the only intention of ending some one’s life is forbidden by law – even if consent is given by the patient. We are not here talking about involuntary euthanasia.
Is it rational to want to end your life – that a point of human existence may be reached that to continue to live is worse then not existing? That a terminal case, where no recovery is in sight, an individual may choose death – and wants it to be painless as possible – a choice that life does not naturally give unless you take matters into your own hands.
Where the decision is the individuals, and there is no chance of recovery what possible legitimate claim can society make on an individual to stay alive? The slippery slope argument does not exist when checked that the individual concerned makes the request and the call in these circumstances.
The dignity of life is reflected in the decisions we make – these things are up to the individual, not legislation prohibiting an action which would reduce suffering of someone for which their only hope is death. The law needs changing, the dignity of people deserves nothing less.
Chantal Sebire passed away the BBC News reported late last Wednesday night – which I missed due to flying out to the USA.
While not clear yet the circumstances surrounding her death, my sympathies to her family and friends. Compassion should move us to right action and if that requires the law to be changed then so be it.