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Terry Pratchett Investigates Assisted Suicide
by Susana Polo | 10:27 am, June 13th, 2011
He said: “The only thing stopping me [signing them] is that I have made this film and I have a bloody book to finish.”
But he stressed that he was as yet still undecided whether he would eventually take his own life.
He said he changed his mind “every two minutes” but added that if he did choose to die would prefer to do so in England and in the sunshine.
The Telegraph’s piece on Sir Terry Pratchett‘s continuing assisted suicide advocacy is misleadingly, if factually, titled “Sir Terry Pratchett begins process that could lead to assisted suicide.” BoingBoing takes the whole thing a step further with the headline “Terry Pratchett initiates assisted suicide process.” But Don’t Panic just yet, if I may be allowed to borrow a line from one of Sir Terry’s former contemporaries.
The author of the beloved and considerably large Discworld series was diagnosed with a rare and agressive form of Alzheimer’s disease three years ago, and almost immediately voiced his support, vocally and monetarily, for the issue of voluntary assisted suicide and Alzheimer’s research. Currently, the only legal options available to British citizens who wish to commit assisted suicide is a flight to clinics in Switzerland, which, as Pratchett points out, causes many people to chose an earlier date of death than they might otherwise, so that they are not too ill to travel when the time comes.
The Telegraph’s headline comes from the fact that Sir Terry has, in the process of filming a documentary (airing on the BBC today) about the assisted suicide of Peter Smedley, visited the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, and is examining the consent forms that would allow him to, after travelling there again, chose the moment of his own death. But, as he says, he’s still not even sure if he’s going to go through with the process at all. He himself steadfastly maintains that he does not campaign for those who want the right to die simply because they are tired of living, but only those with terminal illnesses who wish to take a final measure of control over their lives.
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