The refusal of judges to rule compassionately in anyone's favour seems to be driven by a fear of some kind of rush to die, should they make assisted suicide legal. Instead of thinking long and hard about it and coming up with very precise parameters within which AS would be lawful, they seem to take the easiest route and give out what amounts to a flat 'NO'. This is strange, because it strikes me that - aside from the overwhelming moral imperative of a person owning their own life - there is a very obvious and compelling case for granting individuals the right to choose how and when to end their own suffering. After all, the termination of pregnancy (the denial of a potential independent life) is legal within each of the countries I have mentioned, so long as defined parameters are met. It seems to me that the same standard is not being applied in situations where the 'rights' or 'ownership' of the life concerned are far less debatable than in the case of abortion.
Death is a scary subject for the vast majority of us. I used to be terrified of the concept - now, having shaken the nonsense of religious belief out of my head, death is far less frightening - although still not something I look forward to. My overwhelming feelings about death centre around indescribable sadness at having to one day leave behind all the people that I love and who love me. It brings tears to my eyes to type it. But, face it I must, because it is inevitable. It strikes me that the judges in these cases are failing to face up to the inevitable in anything like the same way as the petitioners are. Death will come to these desperate people, that is certain - all that they are asking for is the permission to choose the manner of their impending and inescapable demise.
I have looked at this from as many angles as I can, and I can find only one line of reasoning which might stand against what seems to be a clear way forward, namely; religious belief. It is not so very long ago, after all, that suicide was, in the UK at least, a criminal offence. As laughable as that sounds, it's no joke; if you failed in your attempt to end everything, you could quite easily wake up in hospital to find that you were being charged for trying to kill yourself - that's bound to improve anyone's (especially someone who's already demonstrated that they are so depressed and/or sad that they want to end it all) view of their life isn't it? The drive for this used to be religious - Christian law forbade suicide as a mortal sin on the grounds that life was a gift from 'God'. Surely the law has moved on from this mumbo-jumbo view of the universe? My guess is that the respective legal systems have not, and the roots of anti-suicide law are deep; thus the respective legal systems resist granting individuals power over the manner of their own death.
This of course presupposes three things; that God exists (for which there is zero proof), that even if God did exist - and I've never heard that question raised in legal debate - the historical (read: bronze age/mediaeval) teachings are correct on the matter of suicide, a question which is unanswerable with any certainty for believers, and finally and most importantly, that the state has any right - any rights whatsoever - over what a person does with his/her own life in regards to ending it. It is my conviction - my profound conviction - that all three suppositions are nonsense; poppycock, balderdash, bullshit, etc., etc..
While people in such situations are rebuffed by judges and are preyed upon by parasitic lawyers, this world is a lesser place than it could be. I continue to be appalled at the insensitivity of the people who make these decisions, and deeply respectful of those courageous individuals, acting for themselves and in an effort to achieve justice for all, who continue to challenge the archaic, nonsensical system which refuses to allow them their final dignity. What POSSIBLE justification can there be to sentence these people to die a lingering and difficult death against their wishes, and in the face of a decision they have made with all the alternatives laid before them?