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Christina Patterson: Tony Nicklinson's agonising plight shouldn't change the law
20th June 2012
But the law isn't about how we feel. The law isn't about how you feel if you were once healthy and fit and happy, and now aren't. The law, as Lord Falconer said on that Dispatches, is the same for everybody. "If people want to kill themselves," he said, it's an "entirely private matter", but "they can't kill somebody else". The law, as the disability rights campaigner Kevin Fitzpatrick also said on the programme, is meant to offer protection. "When you develop a society where some people judge that other people's lives are not worth living," he said, "that's the Rubicon."
If you're disabled, and have decided that you don't want to live, but that the only way to end your life is by starving (which you can still do, though it won't be very pleasant) then it's very, very sad for you. It's sad, and hard, and frustrating, and unfair. But quite a few things in life are sad, and hard, and frustrating, and unfair. And if the law that makes you sad makes most people safer then maybe your sadness, and the sadness of the people who love you, is the price we all have to pay.
And maybe, if you're sad and frustrated and angry, and tell newscasters that you never look at your family and think you can't bear to leave them, because you can't bear to "tolerate so many indignities", you might think about the tweet you sent the 26,834 followers you gained since joining Twitter on Sunday. "What joy," it said, "it is to be loved." And maybe you'll look at that word "joy" and think that the good thing about still being alive is that you can still change your mind.
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