Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Assisted Suicide in Britain

Controversy has flared up over assisted suicide in Britain this past week.

This catalyst was a televised assisted suicide—the suicide of Craig Ewert who was 59 and suffering from motor neuron disease.

Ewert took a fatal dose of barbiturates in a Zurich clinic in 2006, although the documentary covering his decision and final act was first shown just last week.

Assisted suicide is illegal in Britain. According to the NY Times, about 100 Britons have committed assisted suicide in the past decade or so—by traveling to Switzerland or other locations where assisted suicide is legal.

I'm really glad the show aired. You all know I support death with dignity and assisted suicide, but beyond that, even for people who are against this movement, discussions like this get us all thinking and talking about death. And the more it comes into the open, the less alien it becomes. And I hope, the less frightening it becomes.

Ewert's wife was quoted in the New York Times saying, “For Craig, my husband, allowing the cameras to film his last moments in Zurich was about facing the end honestly,” she wrote in The Independent, a British newspaper. “He was keen to have it shown because when death is hidden and private, people don’t face their fears about it.”

My thoughts exactly.


dethmama said...

Great post! I wonder if this could ever be televised in the US... oy, what was I thinking?

Will be linking to this in an upcoming "Articles of Interest". Thanks, Jessica

Jessica Knapp said...

Thank you :)

That's a good question. You know, I'm trying to remember if back in the days of Dr. Kevorkian that ever happened. I know several shows did in-depth looks at his process, but I wonder if anyone ever aired an actual assisted suicide? I will look into that.

Jessica Knapp said...

Yeah, 60 Minutes aired a euthanasia performed by Dr. Kevorkian. I'm going to work on a post about it. Thanks for jogging my mind.