Comments: weekend newspaper stories

A comment by AB on the Carey story:

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 16 October 2005 at 3:16pm BST

And what right has Polly Toynbee, unrepresentative of anyone except herself, to demand that society begin disposing of those whose quality of life is seriously reduced?

No doubt she will be one of the first to urge upon us the social responsibility of a quick and cheap exit in order to reduce the burden on the National Health, and to give the kids a head start with the inheritance money.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Monday, 17 October 2005 at 8:57am BST

She isn't demanding that.

She is asking for people to be able to have the choice. It isn't 'society' doing anything, but individuals making decisions for themselves without meddling bishops interfering in matters which, as Polly rightly says, they are way out of step with the vast majority of people.

Still, that wouldn't be the first time!

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 17 October 2005 at 11:58am BST

Mike, where you and Polly Toynbee have got it wrong is that the Bishops aren't trying to deny you a choice by using their relatively small weight in the House of Lords. Instead, like all democrats they are arguing their case based on what they believe to be in the common good. My view is that a case could also be made that euthanasia supporters are attempting to impose their choices on the rest of us, by seeking the aid of doctors and NHS resources to end their own lives - a step which many of their fellow patients and tax-payers - of all faiths and none - can't morally support.

Posted by Andrew Carey at Monday, 17 October 2005 at 9:11pm BST

Oh please, Andrew: I have wildly ambivalent views about assisted suicide, but what you are presenting is *double-think* at its most duplicitous.

To speak of a "common good"---as if this matter were equally of concern to all---over and against the interests of *people with extremely painful, terminal diseases* is to spit-in-the-eye of those truly *suffering*.

[Then again, it's also typical of a mindset which puts the status of a minority up for "majority-rule" vote: why shouldn't we all get a say in what a woman with an unwanted unpregnancy can/can't do about that? Why shouldn't the heterosexual majority decide the fate of (Ewww!) homosexuals?]

The Cross (and the Resurrection) should have put an end to this "scapegoat" mentality . . . sadly, this isn't the case: tyrannical, self-idolatrous majorities still demand CONTROL. :-(

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Monday, 17 October 2005 at 10:00pm BST

Exactly, Andrew. If I want to commit suicide then I am legally free to do so. I do not have the right to demand the assistance of a doctor or anyone else in taking my own life.

Once the psychological and cultural barrier is crossed between those boundaries, I will no longer just be free to commit suicide when ill, but under pressure to do so. Many elderly people already feel that they are an unwanted burden on society. If a quick "fix" is available from their GP then the pressure to end life will become irresistible.

Those who argued for the Abortion Bill in 1967 claimed it would only affect a very small number of women, and protect doctors from prosecution where terminations had to be carried out to save the life of the mother. Last year some 186,000 abortions took place - death on a tsunami scale - but what right does the unborn child have to choose when the pregnancy proves inconvenient?

The moment we weaken respect for life, especially where it most needs our protection, is the beginning of collective madness on a scale seen most terrifyingly in the Holocaust. The right to die will prove not to be a right, but an obligation.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Monday, 17 October 2005 at 11:42pm BST

And, Andrew, no-one is or would be compelled to take any action they did not wish to take.

Whereas you are trying to prevent either patient or medical practitioner from doing so based on your opinion of the common good - which is not mine. Thus, you are imposing your view, whereas i do not wish to.

The problem with conservatives is that they always wish to do this - they can't allow people to make their own decisions, if they contradict the conservative opinion. I don't actually think you should have that right of restriction.

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 18 October 2005 at 12:55am BST

Mike and JC Fisher the choice to involve a doctor in suicide is not purely a personal choice - it affects us all. It affects the patient-doctor relationship, it affects the severely disabled, and it affects those approaching the end of life under economic pressure - to give just three examples. Issues to do with the beginning and end of life are already regulated by free vote, by Parliament. The call for physician-assisted suicide is no different. It is therefore far from sinister that faith leaders will have something to say in advance of any crucial votes.

Posted by Andrew Carey at Tuesday, 18 October 2005 at 10:37am BST

No, Andrew, that is purely supposition on your part. You are universalising the particular. It affects only those situations where this has been requested. I would prefer to respect the views of those involved, not the opinions of bishops trying to force aspects of their beliefs on those who do not wish it.

In the meantime, euthanasia is widely practiced, undercover. At least we have the option of advanced directives which are legal and now have similar status.

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 18 October 2005 at 6:51pm BST

And so when a bishop speaks he's 'trying to force aspects of of their beliefs on those who do not wish it'? Bishops should not enter the debate 'because' they're bishops? They have a constituency and they need to be heard. Most badly moderated debates and skewed democratic processes include at least one attempt to ensure that the opinion of one side is ruled out of order or that open discussion and due process give way to back room politicking.

Posted by Raspberry Rabbit at Thursday, 20 October 2005 at 9:56am BST
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