LETTER: Matter of life and death

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The issue of assisted dying rages on, despite our politicians voting last year to deny people choice. The BBC recently screened a truly moving documentary about Simon Binner, which highlights the fact that the reality is people are suffering as we speak. In California, legislation was passed last year which will see the introduction of the choice of assisted dying for some 38 million Californians. The Governor of California, Jerry Brown who is a Catholic, said ‘In the end I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death. I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill’. In Canada, the courts have ruled, unanimously, that the rights of Canadians were being impinged on by denying them the choice of an assisted death. So, 35 million Canadians will be able to have a choice when the Canadian government has rewritten the law, as ordered to do so by the courts.

I find it impossible to understand why the rights of some 73 million Californians and Canadians are allowed, but in this country our politicians are so keen to simply refuse to allow a choice to the public, the overwhelming majority who are in support of a change in the law.

Caroline Ansell, the Eastbourne MP, voted against allowing individuals a choice. The statement on Caroline’s website is difficult to make any sense of, terms such as ‘legislative creep’ being meaningless. I would welcome the chance to debate this issue publicly with Caroline at a time and venue of her choosing, with an audience representing both sides of the debate. With this genuinely being a matter of life and death, I think the residents of Eastbourne deserve an informed debate, concentrating on the facts and not scaremongering. I wait to hear from our MP.

Steve Parlanti

Maxfield Close

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