A mother with a large family is pushing for changes to UK law that would allow her access to assisted death.
Jan Butterworth was diagnosed in February of this year with terminal endometrial cancer — which affects the lining of the uterus — and cleared of cell carcinoma.
Knowing that she will die, Butterworth, a former teacher and psychotherapist, seeks control over how and when this will happen. She says that she wants to avoid going to the stage where she cannot manage her basic needs on her own.
However, it Impossible Under current law in the UK, where assisted death can be tried as murder or manslaughter.
Although this may change in the future. On 4 July—Butterworth’s 71st birthday—the members of the UK Parliament are due for a debate. public petition Called on the government to legalize assisted dying for mentally ill adults “of mental ability”.
As of Friday this week, the petition—”Legal aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally capable adults”—had more than 150,000 signatures. In the UK, public petitions with over one million signatures are considered for debate in Parliament.
“People should not be compelled to take drastic measures or travel to another country to end their lives,” the petition said. “They should have the option of dying at home on their own terms, as do people who die in New Zealand and parts of Australia and the United States, as well as many countries in Europe.”
Writing an Article for an Internet Forum mumsnet, Butterworth described himself as “extremely independent” before his illness. “Now the liberties that are so important to me have been taken away and my options are limited,” she said.
option to go to switzerland
“An assisted death at Dignitas in Switzerland would have cost me at least £10,000 ($12,297) and would have to be done as secretly as possible to avoid blaming whoever decides to accompany me. That would of course mean I could either need to or I want to make sure I’m physically strong enough to go.”
Butterworth does not know when she will die, as she is undergoing palliative chemotherapy, which will not cure her cancer, but is expected to extend her life by months.
He described assisted dying as “like an insurance policy against suffering”, which would have a “calming effect” on him and his family.
Butterworth’s daughter Sarah, who is also writing for Mumsnet, described her mother as “my best friend” and “a wonderful mother to my brother and me and a wonderful grandmother to my four grandchildren”. did.
“The only thing that makes it bearable for me is that he has a good death, which he has chosen.”
In response to a petition to be debated on 4 July, the UK government described assisted death as “emotional and contentious territory”.
“Even among those who support the change in law, there are differing views on where the line should be drawn, what safeguards should be put in place and for what,” the government statement said. “Conversely, others feel strongly that the law should not be changed and that safeguards will not adequately protect vulnerable people who may feel pressured to end their lives, whether real or perceived. “
Still, the government said it “would not stand in the way” of a change in law to allow assisted dying if members of parliament voted for it.
UK Members of Parliament have voted against legal assisted death so far, including in 2015. At that time, 300 MPs voted against it, compared to 118 in support.