The decision of the Law Lord's yesterday, the decision of the Royal College of Nurses earlier this week presumably means that suicide and euthanasia are on there way in this country.
I am old fashioned enough to think of nurses and doctors having a vocation, a calling to being on the side of life, on alleviating suffering. Now of course we speak of them as being "medical professionals" the term "professional" has the sense of proficiency about it but it has connotations of "doing a job", of a certain ruthless functionalism too.
I have a terrifying image of those to whom we turn to for medical assistance replacing the smell of carbolic with the smell of death.
At the moment the media are concerned with heart tugging hard cases, I actually believe hard cases make good laws, but soon the hard cases will become softer and softer. The Nazi eugenics policy began with hard cases at the beginning of the twentieth century, within thirty years it divided Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and other groups, including homosexuals, from the rest of mankind into those not worthy to live. Of course that followed a period of economic decline, I am sure Germans in 1900 could not have dreamt it would happen in their country. It won't happen here will it? Our politicians are far too responsible.
Assisted suicide and euthanasia cause our medical professional to make a distinction between those who will live and those who will die. What will happen in our current economic climate when financial restrictions are placed on care of the sick? What will happen to the HIV patient whose drugs might well cost of tens of thousands of pounds over their lifetime, what about the elderly person when there are serious financial constraints. What will happen when social services cutback on things that make life tolerable and death is a genuine alternative to care in the community. What will happen when the falling birthrate means an elderly retired person is supported by two or three working adults. Is euthanasia not an easy answer?
And what will happen when there is a climate of euthanasia or assisted suicide in our families and society?