A healthy 89-year-old British woman has killed herself at an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland because she couldn’t face the modern world.
The retired art teacher, known only as Anne, was not terminally ill nor seriously handicapped. She said that she took the decision because she was tired of modern society’s dependence on computers, believing that email had taken the humanity out of social interaction.
Explaining her decision in an interview with the Sunday Times, Anne said that she was fed up with how technology had taken over people’s lives, and that real social interaction was dying.
“Why do so many people spend their lives sitting in front of a computer or television?” she asked.
“I have never had a television, I have only had a radio . . . People are becoming more and more remote . . . We are becoming robots. It is this lack of humanity.”
“I find myself swimming against the current, and you can’t do that. If you can’t join them, get off,” she added.
She added that as an environmentalist she was worried about the impact humans were having on the planet through overcrowding and pollution.
Anne visited the clinic on 27 March and took a lethal dose of barbiturates. She said before her death: “I don’t want to die whimpering, but go out with a bang.”
Commenting on Anne’s decision, Dr Peter Saunders of the Christian Medical Fellowship said: “This case clearly shows that any law allowing assisted suicide for a restricted class of people, such as mentally competent terminally ill adults, will be subject to incremental extension.
The UK is currently debating whether to legalise assisted suicide in certain circumstances. The government has allowed a free vote in parliament on Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill, which would allow two doctors to prescribe a lethal dose drugs to a patient who is terminally ill with only six months to live.
“Desperate people will push the boundaries, and as a result legal protection for vulnerable people will be weakened.”