There can be no more difficult case for dispassionate discussion than the fate of Tony Nicklinson, the totally paralysed British man who wants to end his life. This week the UK High Court denied his request for euthanasia. He is completely dependent and describes his life in the bleakest words imaginable: “dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable. …it is misery created by the accumulation of lots of things which are minor in themselves but, taken together, ruin what’s left of my life.”
Each of the three justices took pains to express their sympathy for his plight (and the similar case of a man named Martin) as they reluctantly agreed that that they had to affirm the existing law on murder. Hard cases make bad law.
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