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The Nicklinson decision is heartbreaking, but the right one in terms of maintaining the separation of powers, says Isabel McArdle

17 August 2012

Few topics can be as polarising as the question of whether there should be a right to die for those suffering conditions so debilitating that they need assistance to take their own lives. On the one hand, campaigners for a right to die stress the lack of dignity and incredible suffering faced daily by those afflicted by these conditions.

Respect for autonomy, they argue, should prevail and others should be free to assist those whose mental autonomy is intact but whose physical autonomy is impaired. The counterarguments focus on the possibility of some of society’s most vulnerable people being pressured into having their lives ended, and the complex ethical problems this would pose for the medical profession.

Defence of necessity

The High Court has produced an important judgment on this controversial topic. Tony Nicklinson, a sufferer of...

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