Catherine Butcher (Herald Letters, September 30) is saying ‘the priority must be a natural end to life.’ Yes it is, if your care is fine for and it can be pain-free
But we no longer have a natural end to life. People are living longer than the three-score years and ten, because medical advances have made this possible.
Women used to die in childbirth and frequently from diseases which are now curable. We have antibiotics and medical intervention, which means that while in the past pneumonia was the old person’s friend, it is not always now.
Dignity in Dying does not demand a change in the law. We try to persuade the government it would be a humane thing to legalise assisted suicide so that people can choose this, if that is what they wish, with suitable safeguards in law which would protect vulnerable people having pressure to end their lives or being in fear of being an emotional or financial burden to others.
That is what we mean by suitable safeguards. We don’t want people jumping off Beachy Head to end their lives.
Because we are living longer, it is predicted that some people alive today will live to be 120. Would we wish to be kept alive for so many years, in pain or very disabled?
It is better to give people the choice and use our medical services to help those who can be helped; because, financially, this is going to be a very large burden, keeping people alive who do not wish it.