Right to die: does the law need to change?
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The cases of Tony Nicklinson and Martin, the men recently denied the right to assisted suicide by the High Court, has reignited the debate on this controversial issue. There have been a number of similar cases in the past, almost always reaching the same outcome; the pleas of victims of terminal conditions, such as locked-in syndrome or motor-neurone disease, being all but ignored. While it seems like a straightforward moral issue – how can those that genuinely wish to die rather than continue in what they feel to be an undignified, pointless and painful existence be denied this choice? – the implications of requests such as Mr Nicklinson’s reach far beyond the present case. There are valid arguments both for and against assisted suicide and, although individuals like Mr Nicklinson are clearly decided in their wishes, there are legal and moral repercussions to be considered if he is to be granted the right to decide when he is to die.
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