Because of our iniquitous laws, Richard had no option but to travel abroad to die.
By the time you read this, Richard will have ended his life at Dignitas in Switzerland. He wanted to share his story to shine a light on the iniquity of the law in the UK that forces people to travel abroad to end their lives. Richard found it frustrating that probably the most common argument raised by opponents of an assisted dying law is that the vulnerable might be coerced into ending their lives. He emphasised that the process of applying to Switzerland was arduous and involved several discussions with doctors and others, during which the professionals would have readily identified anyone acting against their will. He suggested this argument is being used as a smokescreen to conceal opponents’ true motives, which may be more controversial and rather harder to justify.
Given the unlikelihood of any proposal to change the law coming before Parliament in the near future, Richard wholeheartedly supported the campaigning efforts of people like Phil Newby and Paul Lamb, who are challenging the government through the courts.
Richard’s equanimity as he faced the inescapable decline of the body and the prospect of an assisted death in Switzerland drew admiration and amazement from family and friends alike. To achieve such a calm and measured state of mind, Richard drew on the Buddhist practice that he embraced for thirty years.
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