Tony Nicklinson was denied the right to die, as he was told that assisted suicide was simply illegal in his home country of England. This law condemned him to an inescapable life of, in Nicklinson’s words,
increasing indignity and misery.
Lawmakers infringed upon and stepped on the only peace and dignity that remained for Nicklinson by telling him it would be illegal to die with the help of a doctor through assisted suicide. Despite his unanswered cries to be released through assisted suicide, he died 6 days after hearing the verdict after starving himself and developing pneumonia.
Nicklinson was 58 years old and was simply seeking an end to his
dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable life.
Nicklinson began contemplating assisted suicide after he was left paralyzed below the neck following a stroke. After hearing the judgement and weeping uncontrollably, he stated, by using a computer interface and eye movements, that
his anguish would continue.
He was a helpless man asking for one last moment of help,
to be able to exercise the freedom which everyone else would have: to decide how to end this constant tortuous situation.
His request for help was blatantly denied with words of policy and bureaucracy. Assisted suicide was Nicklinson’s only solution to a world of pain, but that makes no difference to many lawmakers all around the world.
Dr Antony Lempert, explained that the ruling left Nicklinson with bleak options.
Because other people regard his tortured life as somehow sacred, or are fearful of societal consequences, he is forced to endure his suffering or take desperate measures to end it. With no hope now of a quick release, he must choose between this torment and the torment of allowing his family to stand by and watch him starve himself to death.
The latter is the sordid reality that lawmakers let happen.
What is going on? How can a someone be told that they are not allowed to end their own life? If a person is in endless, inescapable agony, how can someone claim it is better for that agony to continue than to end? Assited suicide is illegal in England, and currently in the US, assisted suicide is only legal in Montana, Washington, and Oregon.
Are our lives not our own? According to multiple supreme court decisions, no, they’re not. You may not agree with assisted suicide, but then again, unless you’re in a situation similar to Nicklinson, you shouldn’t be making decisions about it.
The Right to Die
Tony Nicklinson Dies
Assisted Suicide in the US
Supreme Court Case on Assisted Suicide: Vacco V. Quill