Eastbourne must welcome debate

ANNEMARIE Field is to be commended for her column on the pro-euthanasia question.

Her moving account of her mother’s last days, weeks, months, perhaps years in purgatory says all in making the case for a discussion at the very least about the issue.

On Radio 4’s Today programme last week, a man who can communicate only through his eyelids in front of his computer wrote of his dependency on his wife.

That extends to her needing to clean out his nostrils when they are blocked: a process that he believes reduces the dignity of them both.

He earnestly does not wish to live more years in that way.

Sooner or later those opposed at all costs to assisted suicide are going to have to accept public debate on the issue such as that proposed by Dr Philip Nitschke.

Indeed a commission on assisted dying was set up last November to establish what system, if any, should be implemented to allow people assistance to die.

Chaired by Lord Falconer, it is running for 12 months, collating evidence based on public hearings, consultation of experts and study of practices in other countries. It will report its findings at the end of this year.

If all that can happen, surely Eastbourne can offer facilities for Dr Philip Nitschke for debate to take place.

As a supporter of Dignity in Dying, my main concern is the determination of those opposed to assisted suicide to impose their beliefs on the 80 per cent of us who think differently.

I fully accept the views of those who, no matter how ill they are, could never conceive of ending their lives for themselves.

But I would like to know by what moral right they feel able to prescribe the same course of action for Annemarie Field’s late mother, among so many others.

Edward Thomas

Collington Close