I am not, on this occasion, calling for the legalisation of physician assisted dying. The point I am trying to make is that English law is a mess which leads to secretive practices and a lack of clarity. Wherever the law decides to draw the line between what is lawful and what isn't that line should be clearly drawn so we all know with certainty what our rights are.
Recently the debate around Assisted Dying has become a cause célèbre and is now one of the hottest topics of the 21st Century. The concept of assisting someone to die if they are terminally ill may seem a no brainer. Making it legal to assist in a person committing suicide if they feel they can no longer carry on, or that they fear what their impending death may bring, is portrayed in the media as a humanitarian act of compassion that any forward thinking caring society would allow.
People often say to me 'I am living!' Yes, we are all breathing, waking up in the morning and going to work and doing our best to get by. Yet, I wonder how many of us are merely existing. There is a vast difference between the two. Whilst this is something I have often pondered on (especially since the sudden passing of my mother), this film really brought it home to me.
It breaks my heart that in the 21st Century an author and publishing company, then followed by an entire movie company, producer, director and cast, feel that the world needs this type of story. Don't create a positive exploration of what is truly possible for disabled people, instead let's just go the for the easy stereotype eh?
These are deep waters for humankind yet on the anti side accusations were being made by crude use of semantics, those in favour of assisted suicide were accused of being weird or ghoulish , usually by those who had not to their immense good fortune yet experienced the lingering painful death of a loved one.
The Assisted Dying Bill is a significant step backwards. When we strip away its euphemisms it is a law to help people who are frightened of pain or disability to achieve a quicker end to their life, with the support of a doctor. It undermines our respect for human life, encourages a disrespectful attitude to people with disabilities and fundamentally changes the role of the doctor.
On Friday 11 September, MPs will be voting on a bill. A bill which has had little media attention. A bill which has been introduced by a relatively unknown Labour MP - Rob Marris. And yet a bill which, if passed, will have profound implications for people up and down the country. It is a bill dealing with matters of life and death.
I will never regret that our law protected her; preventing her from ending her life when she was vulnerable to despair. Those four years we shared were the most precious gift. Without them, Mum would have missed what she described as some of the richest times in her life and we would have missed understanding just what an amazing person she was.
Unlike the campaign for legalising assisted suicide, the campaign for sustainable long term funding for medical research into mesothelioma has struggled to attract publicity, even though it is aimed at finding solutions so that victims such as Bob Cole may have the possibility of an extended life worth living.
As a society we are clear that suicide is not something to be encouraged or assisted. Legalising assisted suicide flies in the face of that. It sends the message that, if you are terminally ill, ending your life is something that society endorses and that you might want to consider. Is that really the kind of society we want?
England has the chance through my Private Member's Bill to improve care. The Bill would require all commissioners to ensure their patient population has access to seven day specialist palliative care services, that patients and their families have a clear point of contact in a crisis, that there is advice available at all times to front line staff caring for dying patients and that such staff have all received core training in good end of life care.