I can certainly say that in the past year I have changed my views on euthanasia substantially and fully support any initiative that will reform our out-dated laws.
However there are many who will use stories like the one below, where two brothers decided to end their lives because they’d rather not be blind as well as deaf.
Identical twins have been killed by Belgian doctors in a unique case under the country’s euthanasia laws.
The 45-year-old brothers from the Antwerp region were born deaf and sought euthanasia after finding that they would also soon go blind.
They told doctors that they were unable to bear the thought of not being able to see each other again.
The twins, who have not been named but have been pictured on Belgian television, had spent their entire lives together, sharing a flat and working as cobblers.
Belgium’s Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper reported at the weekend that doctors at Brussels University Hospital in Jette “euthanised” the two men by lethal injection on December 14.
Under Belgian law, euthanasia is allowed if those wishing to end their lives are able to make their wishes clear and a doctor judges that they are suffering unbearable pain.
David Dufour, the doctor who presided over the euthanasia, said the twins had died together and had taken the decision in “full conscience”.
“They were very happy. It was a relief to see the end of their suffering,” he said. “They had a cup of coffee in the hall, it went well and a rich conversation. Then the separation from their parents and brother was very serene and beautiful. At the last there was a little wave of their hands and then they were gone.”
The case is unusual because neither of the men was terminally ill or suffering extreme physical pain.
Is this a step to far? The metaphoric slippery slope reached?
Is this the sort of thing that opponents of euthanasia will latch onto as and example of the ways in which the law could be manipulated.
Or should people ultimately decide for themselves when and how to end their own lives without the state or others intervening and moralising over that decision?