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Graham Stewart | 07:56 UK time, Friday, 8 May 2009

Dr Philip Nitschke

Should people be told how they can kill themselves? Australian doctor Philip Nitschke is in Glasgow this weekend giving information to people on how to do just that. He believes in the freedom for everyone to end their life. On today's Morning Extra I gave you the chance to put your points to him directly.

It's a highly controversial subject and many of you were horrified. Paul in Aberdeen texted me with his personal story: "Suicide devastates lives. I was left to bring up my three young children after my husband took his life — we all have to live with the consequences for the rest of our lives."

Michael in Baillieston emailed to object to us even inviting the doctor onto the programme: "This man is entitled to say what he wants, but not to be projected into my home by the BBC at my expense. It is obviously not in the public interest to give a platform to the promotion of suicide."

Dr Nitschke argues that he isn't promoting suicide and is simply giving people choices, an argument which another victim of suicide, Mary in Glasgow, agrees with. She texted: "My husband comitted suicide, it was the most selfish act but it was his choice and we should have the right to our own ultimate choice. My mother at 94 would love that option."

And Angus in Perth says: "Part of the problem is our inability to recognise that we cannot and should not fight to preserve all life regardless of the quality of life."

Dr Nitschke says his non-profit organisation, Exit International, is intended to help older people obtain "pieces of equipment that people can put in a cupboard and forget about". But he's not had a smooth time since coming over from his native Australia. Two of his suicide workshops in Dorset were cancelled after the venues pulled out.


Why people went to euthanasia workshop (5 May 2009)
Dozens attend euthanasia workshop (5 May 2009)
Euthanasia doctor allowed into UK (2 May 2009)
Venues cancel 'suicide workshops' (Oct 2008)
Suicide workshops for the over-50s (13 Oct 2008)
'Dr Death' unveils new suicide aid (17 Nov 2003)
Euthanasia machine comes to UK (5 June 2000)


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