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Monday, May 11, 2009

Media Glorification of Suicide Causes British Woman to Kill Herself

London, England (LifeNews.com) -- A woman in England with multiple sclerosis killed herself after watching a BBC program glorifying suicide tourism in Switzerland. That is the practice where residents of England and other European nations head to the mountain nation to kill themselves at the controversial clinic run by the pro-euthanasia group Dignitas. Angela Harrison, 44, took an overdose of drugs after watching the drama, "A Short Stay in Switzerland," that appeared on the popular British television network in January. Harrison was rushed to a hospital in her hometown of Cambridgeshire, but was pronounced dead just two days later. American bioethicist Wesley J. Smith decried the news and said it shows the problems of the mainstream media pushing the virtues of death as a solution to advancing age or medical problems. "We have discussed the suicide proselytizing in the media and popular culture here many times," Smith explained. "But this story hits the nail." During a court hearing last week, investigators showed how Angela had battled depression for several years as a result of her deteriorating condition and that she had spoken with her children frequently about the possibility of taking her life if her MS became too much to bear. Pro-life advocates have repeatedly said more must be done to treat patients' depression and pain instead of merely offering deadly drugs to take one's life. Harrison's brother told the hearing that she had been planning a cruise in the days leading up to her death but decided to kill herself after watching the BBC program. "Promoting assisted suicide--and its romanticizing in the press and entertainment media--has deadly consequences. Will that lesson be learned? No. The argument will just be made--as it has often before--that she shouldn't have had to do it alone," Smith concluded.


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