Assisted Suicide--Whose Making the Choice?

In: English and Literature

Submitted By lthomasson
Words 1179
Pages 5
Lori Thomasson
Dr. David Kaloustian
English 102.009
25 September 2012

Assisted Suicide— Who’s Making the Choice?
Tony Nicklinson is dead. This news may not make you grieve, sigh, or feel anything, but his death made national headlines in Europe and in the United States. It wasn’t because of who he was though, but rather what he did. The 58-year-old former athlete and civil engineer had been fighting in the British courts for the right to end his suffering from Locked-In Syndrome, an incurable condition, following a stroke he suffered in 2005 (Burns). According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Locked-In Syndrome is “a rare neurological disorder characterized by complete paralysis of voluntary muscles in all parts of the body except for those that control eye movement…Individuals with locked-in syndrome are conscious and can think and reason, but are unable to speak or move…Communication may be possible with blinking eye movements.”
Nicklinson’s only way of communicating was through a system that allowed him to write messages on a computer screen by blinking his eyes (Burns). His message was clear—“I want permission to die.” Before his case went to trial, Tony wrote an essay to the courts expressing his astonishment that a 21st century British court would deny him the right to take his own life just because he was handicapped (Burns). His case was emotionally charged and highly profiled; nevertheless, the British courts rejected his request to die. Lord Justice Sir Roger Toulson, the judge writing for the three-panel court that heard Nicklinson’s case said a decision in his favor would constitute “a major change in the law” (Burns). Nicklinson died six days after the court’s decision. Currently, euthanasia, or its more politically correct term, assisted suicide, is only legal in Europe in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands…...

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