Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Past your “use by” date? What’s next?

Margaret Somerville

Dying human beings are not disposable products.
A private member's bill to legalize assisted suicide is being studied in the Canadian parliament. And it's been reported that police in Minnesota expect to charge William Melchert-Dinkel, a nurse, for allegedly using the Internet to encourage Ottawa resident, 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji, who committed suicide, to kill herself. So far, at least, no one has argued that this was or should be ethically or legally acceptable.

That is not the case in relation to George and Betty Coumbias, two 73-year-old British Columbia residents. George suffers from serious heart disease; Betty is healthy. But in Betty's words, "I don't think I can face life without (George), and since we read about Dignitas (a Swiss organization that assists people to commit suicide), we felt what would be better than to die together, you know, to die in each other's arms?"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I never thought that Western civilization would ever invent its own version of the Indian suttee, the repression of which was one of the positive things the British did in their colonization of India, but this case of Betty Coumbias shows that we are on the verge of it. Talk about reactionary!