Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Assisted Suicide of retired UK teacher frustration with modern life - why is this a story?

The UK Telegraph and syndicated newspapers worldwide reported on the death of a retired UK teacher at the Swiss death facility, Dignitas recently, citing it as having 'reignited debate'.

The unnamed woman - called 'Anne' in the article - was accompanied to Dignitas by her 54 year old niece. Both, according to the Telegraph, support the current UK push for assisted suicide.

Anne would not have qualified. Though she had some medical issues, she was not dying. She said that she was 'frustrated' with modern life and the internet age and said that she lacked energy and her declining health left her with “a life with no enviable future.”

If this story is effectively - even if not intentionally - part of the supposed reasons why people should support the current UK push, then it betrays the real agenda of those who support Lord Falconer's bill in the House of Lords: unfettered access to euthanasia and/or assisted suicide.

The article effectively emphasises the reality that, present a few difficult cases in the media, wrap them up in a profile of the person who dies or wants to die as being a reasonable person - a grandma or grandpa figure perhaps, and then play on the public sympathy to broaden the agenda.

If this article is not sympathetic to legislated killing or assisted suicide, then I don't know why it is news at all. If it were pitched as a great scandal or pitiful action of someone not in their right mind or wanting death for unconscionable reasons, then it might have provided a public benefit in the appropriate shunning of such behaviour.

If it were it not for the Dignitas connection and legislative agenda, this suicide would probably not be have been reported at all. World Health Organisation guidelines for reporting on suicide would suggest a respectful silence or, at the very least, a more generalised story.

So, tell me: do you think, if Lord Falconer's bill passes in the UK Parliament, that the pro-euthanasia & assisted suicide lobby will simply go away or that media reports like this one will simply cease?

Not on your life, or mine or, more importantly, anyone else's!

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