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Mark Gilbert

Euthanasia Should Be Legally Painless

As people live longer, although not necessarily better, quality of existence issues will start to outweigh quantity of life as our twilight years nudge closer and closer to triple digits.
The modern art of dying.                                                                                      
The modern art of dying.                                                                                      

Ever watched a loved one die in a hospital bed, insensate from morphine, hands that made dinner, earned the rent, wiped away tears and raised a child bruised and swollen after one too many stabbings to find a vein?

If not, you probably will, ears straining for the final rattle in the throat and the skipped breath. And you'll probably wonder: Is this the way life ends, not with a bang, not with rage against the dying of the light, but only the prolonged agony of awaiting the inevitable? And you may also start to think: Maybe the folks at Dignitas in Switzerland are onto something with their assisted-suicide program for the terminally ill?

And maybe the U.K. has noticed. Later this week, the House of Lords will debate "a billto enable competent adults who are terminally ill to be provided at their request with specified assistance to end their own life," which is only the second stage in a long parliamentary processbefore it even gets to the House of Commons to have a chance of becoming law.