The rational suicide stalwart speaks his mind
Arguments for assisted dying, or voluntary assisted dying, or voluntary euthanasia, or medical aid in dying nearly always take place within a legislative framework. However, there are some prominent figures in the right-to-die movement who believe in rational suicide – that anyone capable of informed consent should be able to exit at any time, painlessly, without the interference of meddling doctors.
The leading exponent of this point of view is Dr Philip Nitschke, an Australian activist who now lives in the Netherlands with his partner Fiona Stewart. His organisation, Exit International, manufactures suicide devices and dispenses advice about rational suicide.
Together Nitschke and Stewart run a regular podcast about a range of issues linked to rational suicide – the methods, the politics, Covid-19, legislation, and so on. It’s called the Doxit Podcast Conversations. He is quite candid about his ambitions.
In the latest, for instance, the hosts discuss the so-called “Azide Wars”, a dispute over access in the Netherlands to sodium azide, a powerful and lethal drug which is better known as “Middel X”.
The podcasts give an interesting insight into a “third way”, a completely different ethical outlook from either the right-to-die lobby or the pro-life movement.
Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge
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