An 89 year-old retired British art teacher, who was able to be admitted to the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland with the help of the Society for Old Age Rational Suicide (SOARS), has committed suicide.
The woman, Anne, from Sussex, who was neither terminally ill nor seriously handicapped, said in an interview with the Sunday Times just days before her death that she wanted to kill herself because she had had enough of “swimming against the current” of the world. The former art teacher and Royal Navy engineer said she had become exasperated with the modern world of emails, televisions, computers, and supermarket-ready meals.
A report on the interview that appeared in The Independent states that Anne told the Times, “They say adapt or die. At my age, I feel that I can’t adapt, because the new age is not an age that I grew up to understand. I see everything as cutting corners. All the old-fashioned ways of doing things have gone.”
Anne said email had taken the humanity out of human interaction, and that people were “becoming robots” who sit in front of screens.
In addition, Anne said she was horrified by the rows of ready-made meals for sale at supermarkets, as well as the environmental impact of overcrowding and pollution.
“I find myself swimming against the current, and you can’t do that,” Anne said. “If you can’t join them, get off.”
Michael Irwin, founder of SOARS, said that Anne, who had promoted the right to die in the UK, had ended her life “with quiet determination,” her only regret being that, in order to so do, she had to travel to Switzerland.
Anne committed suicide on March 27, one day after Prime Minister David Cameron said he would oppose the easing of assisted suicide laws in Britain because he believed the effects could be that people would feel “unfairly pressurised” into ending their lives.
Cameron intervened when Liberal Democrat Care Minister Norman Lamb argued that proposed legislation to make assisted suicide legal for terminally ill adults with less than six months to live had achieved “quite widespread public support.”
Assisted suicide remains a criminal offense in England and Wales.
In 2011, the Holy See expressed its “sincere interest and concern” to the 18th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council regarding a report at the meeting that encouraged a “paradigm shift” in the bio-medical view of aging. The Holy See objected to the report’s view of aging “as an abnormal or pathological phenomenon” and one that “equates advanced age with illness.”
“My delegation wishes to take strong exception to a reference in the report regarding ‘issues of patient autonomy in respect of deciding to end life,’ wrote His Excellency Silvano M. Tomasi for the Holy See, “even though the report writer notes that he is not treating such issues in the context of the present report.”
“We strongly believe that life is a gift that no person has the so-called ‘right’ to end,” wrote Tomasi, “that death is the culmination of a natural process and no person, even the elderly or suffering person himself or herself, is entitled to cause or hasten the natural process of dying through biomedical or any other means.”