April 18, 2024

Looks that killed

Are crows feet good enough reason for assisted suicide?

An Italian woman in her 80s decided to die in an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland because she was ‘losing her good looks’. Oriella Cazzanello – who was seldom visited by her children– caught a train to a clinic in Basel where her life was ended for a fee of €10,000. Her family, who reported her missing to the police, only learned of her death when her attorney received the ashes and the death certificate in the mail.

Mrs Cazzanello chose to end her life because she was ‘weighed down by ageing and the inevitable loss of the looks of which she was proud’ the Italian news agency ANSA reported. Assisted suicide is illegal in Italy, but legal in Switzerland, even if the person requesting it is not terminally ill.

Conservative bioethicist Wesley Smith suggested that the poor relationship Cazzanello had with her family was at the heart of her decision. “Euthanasia/assisted suicide is an abyss with no bottom”, he concluded.

Coincidentally, researchers at the University of Bern released a paper this week which indicates that 16% of those who die in Swiss suicide clinics do not  have an underlying health problem. They just want to end it all because they are weary of life. They concluded: 

“Assisted suicide in Switzerland was associated with female gender and situations that may indicate greater vulnerability such as living alone or being divorced, but also with higher education and higher socio-economic position.”

Xavier Symons
Creative commons
assisted suicide