Tuesday, July 26, 2022

There is nothing civilized about assisted dying.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Kevin Yuill
Historian and author, Kevin Yuill, wrote another great article that was published by Spiked on July 25 titled: There is nothing civilized about assisted dying.
Not Dead Yet UK comment: The Mansfield case should never be a reason for changing the law on assisted suicide (Link).
Yuill is responding to the Mansfield case (UK) which concerns Graham Mansfield who killed his wife Dyanne in a suicide pact, but failed to kill himself. The UK assisted suicide lobby claim that this is a good case for legalizing assisted suicide.

Yuill writes:
In March 2021, Graham Mansfield, a retired baggage handler, had agreed a mutual suicide pact with his 71-year-old wife, Dyanne, who had terminal cancer. He proceeded to slit his wife’s throat in their back garden, and then made a serious attempt to take his own life. When he woke up 12 hours later, he called the police in desperation. He pleaded with paramedics to let him die and admitted in his first 999 call that he had killed Dyanne.
Yuill explains that the jury found Mansfield not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter. Yuill writes:
Though manslaughter can be punished with a maximum of life in prison, Mr Justice Goose imposed a two-year suspended sentence on Mansfield, ruling that the killing was ‘an act of love, of compassion, to end her suffering’.
Based on Justice Goose claiming that Mansfield acted out of love and compassion to end his wife's suffering, Mansfield's legal team and pro-assisted-suicide organisations like Dignity in Dying and Humanists UK are using this case to argue that the UK needs to legalise assisted dying. Yuill responds:
But the case of Graham Mansfield, as disquieting as it is, is not a reason to change the law on assisted suicide.
Yuill comments on how rare suicide pacts are in the UK, and how the law actually works properly by allowing the judge to determine a proper penalty for a conviction. Yuill continues:
But perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the case is the implication from assisted-suicide proponents that cutting the throat of a terminally ill person should be treated differently to cutting the throat of a person in good health. In law – for good reason – all are protected against wrongful killing, regardless of the state of their health.

Campaigners will claim that Mansfield’s act was justified because it was born of compassion for his suffering wife. This is understandable, but it also shows that the line quickly blurs between an assisted suicide and a mercy killing. Ultimately, legalising assisted dying treats the lives of the terminally ill as less valuable than other lives.
Yuill concludes by stating that he agrees with the two-year suspended sentence given to Mansfield but he also agrees that people who slit their wife's throat should be prosecuted.

This is a difficult case and many people will disagree with Mansfield receiving a two-year suspended sentence; nonetheless, if this case represents a precedent as to why assisted suicide should be legalized in the UK, then this precedent will open the floodgates to others who are living with a sick or disabled spouse.


Voice of Gone Ballistic said...

Alex, you should append a note that the EPC is against this.
Readers do not have the time to critically think out everything they read.
You have to remind the readers the "stance" of the EPC.

Voice of Gone Ballistic said...

Alex, sometimes because I am tired as that seems to be the only time I have time to do the computer thing when you post something about what those that want euthanasia I get confused. It is like at first reading that EPC might be going the other way.
One thing I learned in my court experience is that you cannot assume anything. Every court application and in your case each post you have to assume that the judge/reader knows nothing and things have to be readdressed.
I would also like you to place an icon on each of your posts to print so I can print it out and read it on the bus.
Not everyone has a cell phone or is comfortable with using one.
And it is common that people lose their cell phones.
There is a movement against living online.
Technology is making things more complicated not easier.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Thank you for your comment. I will try to add a position statement on articles when necessary.