I quote this article verbatim with no apologies for you all to read and hopefully to vote for.
Sadly I didn't write it, but if you want to read a well written, thought provoking article then this woman does a different one EVERY DAY in the Herald .
Why euthanasia is the moral choice
Regular readers of The Herald will be aware that a couple of weeks ago we said goodbye to Fergus the famous police horse, Glasgow's wonderful old public servant, who lived with me in retirement.
We put him to sleep because he had reached the stage, with age and arthritis, where he was no longer able to get up after lying down. Horses weigh more than half a ton: a few days previously, it had taken five of us with ropes to get the distressed animal onto his feet. To avoid him suffering again, and to allow him to end his life with dignity, we decided to euthanise him before there was a repeat incident.
So I organised the final act of kindness: or, if we attempt vainly to avoid euphemisms, his death. A kindly vet sent him on his way: at home, peacefully, surrounded by friends, with the sun on his back and no pain in his bones. I was touched by the number of letters I received from people afterwards, and interestingly there was a shared sentiment in many of them: the hope that when our time comes, when we can't get up any more, someone will perform the same act of kindness for us humans. The words were written jokily, but they expressed a profundity.
I don't think we can underestimate just how many people feel this way regarding their own demise. A recent survey by the ethicist Professor Sheila McLean of Glasgow University, and others, for the National Centre for Social Research, suggests that more than 80% of people support some kind of code of voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill.
It is as if we all know, deep down in our bones, that there will come a time when we will seek the final choice. And it's precisely at that point that the insanity of a society which devotes its energies to the prolongation of human life, at any cost, but refuses to allow for the calm, kind termination of it, under any circumstance, will be brought home to each and every one of us.
As Elizabeth Clery, one of the authors of the report, states: "The current law that prohibits assisted dying is at odds with public opinion - most people accept that a doctor should be allowed to end the life of someone who is terminally and painfully ill."
On perhaps the most crucial issue of all in an ageing society, the law has been left behind by changing societal values. That effectively means, in a democracy, that the moral argument has already been won.
I’d like to go as old Fergus did, when I’m a burden to my family
How can we spend a lifetime being preached the gospel of choice, absorbing a bewildering array of alternatives at every turn - cars; clothes; hospitals; schools; groceries; novels; films - and yet ultimately be denied the most important choice of all?
How come I can choose 20 ridiculous variations of latte, mocha or Americana, but not the right to say, thanks, but I've had enough.
Last week saw the death, in a Swiss suicide clinic, of the businesswoman Elisabeth Rivers-Bulkeley, who was suffering from cancer. This week we heard the harrowing story of Kelly Taylor, the 30-year-old woman who lives in constant pain from a congenital heart defect and a spinal disorder. Next week it will doubtless be someone else, some other brave, pitiful pioneer demonstrating against the law's out-dated, indefensible position.
Mrs Taylor is a crystal clear case for legal reform. She has been told she has a year to live but doctors are unable to control her pain, and you can see the suffering in her sweet, serene face. She asked her doctors to increase her morphine to the point where she would go into a coma-like sedation, at which point her living will, requesting she be neither fed nor hydrated artificially, would kick in.
Mrs Taylor's doctors, immune from prosecution only as long as they can show their intention was to ease pain rather than hasten death, have had to refuse her request, and she goes to the High Court in London next month. Her lawyers intend to cite Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment, and Article 8, which guarantees the right to respect for private and family life. My heart hopes she is successful; my head knows she won't be.
Only last May the House of Lords, unduly influenced by church leaders, voted by 148 to 100 to block Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill, thus kicking the issue into the long grass. In Scotland, much the same thing has happened with the suicide bill from Jeremy Purvis, the LibDem MSP. The churches, whether they can accept it or not, are shoring up an arcane and undemocratic law.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd like to go as old Fergus did. At the point at which my legs give up, or I can't move or eat or wash, or I'm a chronic burden on my family, I'd like someone to help me die. There's nothing depressing about this. Quite the opposite. As Kelly Taylor puts it: "I'm a happy person. I've never been depressed. But my illness is now at the point where I don't want to deal with it any more." Animals, if they are well cared for, are much luckier than humans, because they are not allowed to linger.
I believe that the only immorality in euthanasia lies in the withholding of it. A person of uncertainties, I have never been more sure of anything than on this. I have lived a lot closer to the moral dilemma, and thought much more deeply about it, than a good deal of people, and I've come to the clear conclusion that there is much more morality inherent in ending a distressing life than in keeping it going.
My mother had vascular dementia. Mostly she was gone, but tiny bits of her brain still functioned, just as a few brave plants flower amongst the expanse of weeds in a neglected garden. She wandered in order to die; as she deteriorated, she told me her intentions. She didn't want to be a burden. Were we native Americans of old, we could have left the doors open so she could go somewhere and lie down for the last time. But we weren't. Convention decreed we had to lock the doors, and then, when we couldn't manage her any more, put her in a home.
There, driven by a visceral instinct, she escaped. Foiled all the alarm systems, sidestepped the pressure pad alerts. Immensely frail, deranged but not that deranged, she plotted her exit in the night, negotiated a dark warren of storage rooms, found an outside door and lay down to die, freed at last by the thick white frost of the garden. We, her family, were dumbfounded by her courage. She'd euthanised herself. She'd achieved her aim.
And so it was, when Fergus died, on that sunny morning two weeks ago, it occurred to me that my mother, had she not beaten the system so magnificently, might still be alive somewhere, face to the wall, force-fed, drugged, a shell of a human being in purgatory.