Better Way ally Dr Ashley Frawley, a sociologist at Swansea University, recently spoke to Times Radio on behalf of the campaign. She explained why she has moved from a position of support, in principle, for ‘assisted dying’ to opposition. Read the interview script below.
Interviewer (Patrick Maguire): “You have written that you were once in favor of the idea of ‘assisted dying’ and now, you’re not. What made you change your mind?”
Dr Ashley Frawley: “Yeah. It’s one of these issues where you think, you know, as a liberal type I can get on board with that. And it’s mainly the kinds of stories that we’ve just heard that made me in favor of assisted dying. And then a number of cases began to emerge out of the situation in Canada, where I’m from, both publicly and in my own personal life that made me realise I don’t think that this is happening because we’re becoming more liberal as a society. I think we’re becoming more blasé about human life and, in particular, certain kinds of human lives. People with severe disabilities.
“So, for instance, the case of Roger Foley, who has a disease that affects his ability to use his arms and legs, and requires quite costly forms of community care, which he continually requested. And instead he was offered assisted dying and hospital staff, he felt, continually guilted him about the cost of his care and offered him instead ‘assisted dying’ instead of assisted living. This is this is a situation that’s happening in Canada. A recent survey came out that showed people are increasingly in favor of offering assisted dying for things like poverty. And this becomes an issue when we don’t see the value of certain lives, when it becomes impossible to live in the community because of external effects, rather than something internal to yourself and your own body.”
Interviewer: “What is the argument against a system that is tougher than the system that’s been introduced in Canada in, imperfectly as you say, that gives people that sort of freedom at the in the last moments of their life?
Dr Ashley Frawley: “Well, this is the argument that was made initially in Canada and indeed the law as it is now was not how it started. There were a number of provisions and safeguards that were the result of years of extensive consultation – parliamentary, legal debate. It has to be something that you absolutely would not want to take up except in the most extreme circumstances. That’s what most people are on board with. The issues is, almost as soon as the legislation gets passed it starts to erode, and it starts to become offered to a wider and wider array of groups. And that is not a society I think anyone wants to live in.”