The Lesley Martin trial has reignited a lot fo debate over whether Euthanasia should be legalised. It is worth noting that passive euthanasia is already quite legal and common, ranging from do not resuscitate orders to doctors with-holding drugs which could extend life to people in a coma or terminal stages of illness.
So it is whether doctors, or others, should be able to perform active euthanasia, which is to take specific steps to end life, when agreed to by a patient.
On the balance, I do favour allowing active euthanasia, but the conditions around it have to be very very tightly defined.
The Lesley Martin case is not a good example for the pro-euthanasia lobby though. As reported in the SST today, hospice workers and doctors have stated they they offered more help, but Lesley Martin refused it. Combining this with the concerns the rest of her family held, and the fact the mother never said in writing she wished to end her life, it is difficult not to be very uneasy over what Lesley Martin did. Her sentencing will be interesting.