LONDON — The controversy over the ethical and legal issues surrounding assisted suicide for the terminally ill was thrown into stark relief on Tuesday with the announcement that one of Britain’s most distinguished orchestra conductors, Sir Edward Downes, had flown to Switzerland last week with his wife and joined her in drinking a lethal cocktail of barbiturates provided by an assisted-suicide clinic.
Downes was not mortally ill. He chose death over living without his wife's companionship. I understand that.
And I understand the reaction of euthanasia advocates. Downes' choice takes the argument for assisted suicide to the ultimate, far past their dream that euthanasia be incorporated into the dynamic of medical treatment.
They would assist the physically ill or the physically disabled,, but they do not want to face the fact that sometimes that other part of our make-up -- our intellect, our soul, our emotions -- turn against us.