A 24-year-old woman from Belgium with mental illness, who was told she could be euthanised, changed her mind on the day she was scheduled to be killed.
Emily, who has suffered from severe depression and suicidal thoughts since childhood, was determined to die and received the go-ahead from three doctors.
But as she prepared to be given a lethal injection she told the doctor “I cannot do it”.
Change of heart
In a short documentary by The Economist, Emily described her longing for “peace” and a relief from her suffering, which she believed she could find in death.
But she said the weeks leading to her lethal injection were “relatively bearable”, resulting in a change of heart.
She told The Economist that she didn’t know why, and asked “had something changed in me?”
Ciarán Kelly, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, said: “The fact that Emily changed her mind at the last moment shows the inherent dangers of giving some of the most vulnerable people in society access to state-licensed death.”
Alison Davis, a severely disabled woman who decided she wanted assisted suicide, also changed her mind.
In an interview on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme earlier this year, her friend Colin Harte told John Humphrys why she chose life.
Mr Harte said: “Friends had encouraged her to have an understanding that her life had a value.”
So much to offer
He said she had a will to live “because she wanted to do something for others”, and recognised that “people can do things with their lives even with difficulties”.
“Life has so much more to offer, even in the midst of difficulties, than those who are advocating assisted suicide would have us believe”, he added.
After hearing about Emily’s desire to die because of her mental suffering in June this year Lord David Alton, a crossbench Peer, stressed that as a society we must not encourage suicide.
Help to live
Writing for The Spectator, Lord Alton said: “We are rightly compassionate and understanding about suicide. But as a society we are clear that suicide itself is not something to be encouraged, much less assisted.
“We have suicide prevention strategies and suicide watches. When we come across people who are suicidal, we try to help them to live rather than to kill themselves.”