The Assisted Dying Bill is long overdue because we can't keep forcing people to die in pain and misery against their will, or pressuring the terminally ill into committing gruesome acts of suicide as a last resort. We must realise that the right to life includes the right for individuals to make an informed decision to die in the way that they perceive to be the most dignified.
Assisted dying was an idea I was aware of as I was growing up and one which seemed to make logical sense - if you are dying you should have control over the suffering that sometimes comes with that process. Then, at university, I worked as a healthcare assistant, mainly in palliative care. It was then I was forced to face the reality of our current cruel laws.
A physician is supposed to be a healer. Helping patients is so central to the profession's ideal that newly minted doctors take an oath to "do no harm". As a medical student, I look forward to the unique honour and responsibility of taking care of patients; but I'm also conscious of - and frightened by - a darker side of medical history.
Animals have feelings and emotions, and they suffer from pain, disabilities and diseases just as humans do. But unlike my father, who could clearly communicate his wishes through a system of blinking his eyes, animals can't tell us (at least not in human language) that they don't feel well, are in terrible pain or even want to die. They depend on us to notice when something is wrong and to be brave enough to make the heartbreaking-but-humane decision to end their suffering when the time comes.