By David Hunter
Astute readers are no doubt already following the story of Debbie Purdy who is seeking to have the law of assisted suicide in the UK clarified, given that historically those who have traveled overseas and provided assistance have not been prosecuted in the past, despite it appearing that they are breaking the law.
There has been an interesting indication recently that this clarification will not only apply to overseas assistance but also to assistance within the UK.
I’m a great fan of clarification (of course, philosophers tend to be keen on that sort of thing) particularly in these very sensitive areas, having myself been in the situation in the past of having a loved one effectively request euthanasia, and having been willing to assist if assistance was not forthcoming (which thankfully it was). One thing that made the situation much more difficult was the uncertainty involved, both legal but also in terms of the support available since officially it couldn’t happen.
I do hope however that the clarification that is gained is positive and a step forward, rather than backwards which is, without further law change a significant possibility.