I have just watched a programme about assisted suicide. It received a lot of attention as for the first time on public television they decided to broadcast someone in the act of killing themselves. The man concerned was intelligent and logical and was in the late stages of motor neurone disease, with very limited mobility, requiring a respirator to assist with breathing and loosing his ability to swallow fast (independent swallowing being an essential component of assisted suicide). His wife and family were very together and supportive and the whole thing seemed very logical. Watching the actual suicide was not nearly as uncomfortable as I thought it would be and the death seemed peaceful. What did make me feel a bit uncomfortable was that through this deeply personal act there were advertisement breaks and I wandered in and out of the kitchen doing the washing up. I somehow thought the programme and I should have been a bit more respectful.
The other thing that occurred to me is that if you are rich you get choices and if not then you don't. The whole procedure was not cheap and I also imagine that the cost of this man's care before his death was not cheap either. A portable respirator, expensive wheelchair etc would all be above the reach of the typical uninsured American as would the flight and accommodation in Switzerland. So if you are poor then you don't get to choose to die when you want but you die much sooner because you can't afford the treatment to prolong your life.