There are several legal issues that never seem to go away, and the law surrounding assisted suicide and euthanasia is one of them, at least in the UK, where the controversial issue has reared its head on an annual basis for well over a decade.
The recent sad case of Tony Nichlinson and another person known only as Martin—a case that sought to allow voluntary euthanasia to become a possible defense to murder—is simply the latest in a long line of attempts to liberalize the law.
Along with most other nations, both assisted suicide and euthanasia are illegal in the UK. The arguments against weakening the law are well established—with any change likely to place immense pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives. Indeed, as has often been argued, suffering patients need understanding and sound medical treatment, not encouragement to kill themselves. Recognising this need, the UK has developed a reputation for providing the best palliative care in the world.
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