Euthanasia Activist in Suicide Pact Just Doesn’t Want to Care for Parents

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 16, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Euthanasia Activist in Suicide Pact Just Doesn’t Want to Care for Parents Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 16, 2006

London, England ( — A woman who is a radio news show host in England has made a suicide pact with friends to end her life if she is diagnosed with an incurable disease or becomes a "burden" to her family. However, a leading observer of end of life issues says she entered the pact because she doesn’t want to take care of her elderly parents.

"When my time comes I want to be able to decide about my destiny," Jenni Murray, the host of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, told the London Telegraph newspaper.

She made the pact with two friends who will kill each other upon the other person’s request. That comes despite British law making assisted suicide a crime. Murray says the law is only supported by extremist religious activists.

The friends may use injections on each other or smother the person requesting to be killed with a pillow.

Promotional materials for a news program where Murray will talk about the pact, say Murray does not want to "look after her sick and aging mother," who has Parkinson’s disease.

"Jenni is angry that, having fought so hard to become liberated and independent, women are now being trapped into caring for dependent parents," the promotional says.

American attorney Wesley J. Smith, who is a leading observer of end of life issues, says he’s saddened to see Murray doesn’t "want to be burdened with caring for her aging parents."

"Poor baby. But it is good that she is being candid," he says on his web blog.

"I have always suspected that often, when people say they "wouldn’t want to be a burden," they are actually (or also) saying, "I don’t want to be burdened," Smith said.

"And imagine the insidious message that the elderly receive from such advocacy. Why, it might be enough to make them want to commit suicide," he added.