Demand for an end to 'suicide tourism' with new Scots law

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Demand for an end to 'suicide tourism' with new Scots law
The Herald (Glasgow, Scotland). (Feb. 1, 2016) Reading Level (Lexile): 1320.
COPYRIGHT 2016 Newsquest Media Group Ltd.
From Global Issues in Context.
Full Text:
Byline: Vicky Allan
A FORMER doctor at a controversial Swiss-based right to die clinic has called for an
end to so-called 'suicide tourism' as she urged Scotland to legalise the method of death.
Dr Erika Preisig worked at the Dignitas centre where Scots cousins Stuart Henderson,
86, and Phyllis McConachie, 89, last year paid [pounds sterling]15,000 to end their
lives.
Dr Preisig, who is to give a talk in Glasgow on Saturday, said there would be no need
for foreigners to come to the clinic if Scotland and other countries brought their laws on
the right to die in line with Switzerland's.
Dr Preisig, who runs the Eternal Spirit Foundation, which helps people to die from her
home village of Biel-Benken, near Basel, is to discuss the issue in a speech at the
Mitchell Library.
She said: "How do we end it [suicide tourism]? Through legalising it in other countries."
Dr Preisig and her foundation have already prompted controversy here because of their
role last year in the assisted deaths of Mr Henderson and Ms McConachie, of Troon,
Ayrshire.
Mr Henderson suffered severe hearing difficulties and Ms McConachie several strokes,
but chose with the aid of right to die campaigners to travel to Dignitas to receive lethal
injections.
Many were concerned that the pair, who travelled last year to Switzerland to die, were
not terminally ill, and that they were choosing to die because of fear that they would be
separated from each other and put in different homes.
Assisted suicide remains illegal in Scotland after Patrick Harvie's Assisted Suicide
Scotland Bill, which he took on following the death of fellow MSP Margo MacDonald,
was rejected last year.
Defending Mr McConachie and Ms Henderson's right to take their own lives, Dr Preisig
said that separation had not been the prime concern.
She said: "They did not want to go to a nursing home. They just couldn't cope any more
in the home that they had been in because he was almost completely blind and she was
having problems with hearing and arthrosis, and all these old age illnesses which make
life very difficult and reduce life quality so that after some time you just want death to
come."
Above all, she said, they were fearful of ending up in hospital.
But Dr Preisig does not stipulate that those she helps be terminally ill. She willingly
considers helping anyone over 85 years old who is "of sound mind" and not influenced
by others.
She added: "I think everybody knows that above 85 life gets more difficult. You have no
strength. You have arthrosis. You have so many illnesses. The possibility of having a
stroke or something that takes away your mental capacity, increases.
"So if somebody is more than 85 years old, I do not want to interfere with their wish to
die if it is well thought over."
With our ever-ageing population, she believes, such help is likely to be increasingly
desired.
"More and more very elderly people decide that they have had enough of life and they
have had a fulfilled life," said Dr Preisig, "and they want to take off, as you finish your
holidays".
Vicky Allan
Source Citation (MLA 8th Edition)
Allan, Vicky. "Demand for an end to 'suicide tourism' with new Scots law." Herald
[Glasgow, Scotland], 1 Feb. 2016, p. 3. Global Issues in Context,
http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A441897662/GIC?u=melb77403&sid=GIC&xid=
80cdc2d4. Accessed 13 Sept. 2018.
Gale Document Number: GALE|A441897662
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