Should we all have the right to choose when to end our lives, and should anyone we ask to help us be absolved of any blame and be immune from prosecution?
That is the hugely important, and hugely emotive, issue raised by today’s inquest report and the subsequent comments by the daughter of a couple who took incredibly hard decisions that they thought were best for them.
The couple in question decided that the course of action they embarked upon was for the best.
Nobody but they can fully understand what life was like in their household and why they arrived at the decisions they arrived at.
Who is to say they made the wrong decision?
And the law, which is no doubt sometimes an ass, must be at least examined to ensure it is right.
It is time for a grown-up debate about such matters.
We are supposed to live in a civilised society in which we can debate such matters without knee-jerk reactions.
Some would argue that it is not civilised to allow people to help others take their own lives.
But perhaps it is more civilised to put a system in place which enables people of sound mind, who have persuaded the relevant experts of the merits of their decision, to be able to ask someone to help them end their days in a controlled environment.
The rules and regulations would have to be absolutely watertight, but it could avoid much heartache and physical suffering.
Neil Pickford, Editor