Euthanasia: Hard cases make bad laws.

By April 8, 2014 Recent News

Alex Schadenberg 3 April 2014
The pro-euthanasia lobby often promotes media reports of people facing difficult prognoses who wish to end their lives rather than face inevitable deterioration. Such persons often become, for a short while, celebrities for a macabre cause. The media attention can even become addictive and provide, a distraction from their suffering or a raison d’etre.
But are these stories really a substantive reason for changing the law? I would argue, no.
In a debate in Launceston, Tasmania, a few years back a delightful woman on the other side of the debate told the story of her husband who had motor neurone disease and took his own life rather than face the trajectory of deterioration. She described the understood trajectory of MND in some detail. I imagine that she was describing a worst-case scenario.
One could easily understand the anguish of what her late husband was facing: he was a fascinating person with great achievements. When I met his wife and son I got the sense that he would have been a wonderful person to have met. I imagine the audience that night must have felt the same.
Yet, at the close of the evening when the audience had a chance to speak, a woman rose from the back of the auditorium and said that her husband had recently passed away after suffering with MND. She told the audience that his death was, “nothing like that”, referring, clearly to the earlier description.