By Dr Kevin Fitzpatrick, the director of EPC International.
Terry Pratchett, an author and a euthanasia promoter, died yesterday at the age of 66.
My first ‘outing’ on the assisted suicide/euthanasia debate was a student debate in Trinity College Dublin. I was very new to the subject and in truth, a very slick Phillip Nitschke wiped the floor with me. I swore it would never happen again, although something similar did, just once more, a couple of months later when the supposedly independent chair of a debate in London, Jon Snow, aggressively turned on those of us who were opposed to legalising any third party intervention in decision-making at the end of someone’s life. I have learned a great deal since then, have a much deeper understanding of the catastrophic consequences of laws permitting assisted suicide and/or euthanasia.
Another of my opponents in Trinity that evening was Sir Terry Pratchett. He asked me for a conversation afterwards, and I was happy to oblige, to try to understand his thinking and motivation better.
He struck me as an intelligent, considered, but understandably frightened man. As much as I detest what he has done to promote such terrible outcomes, I think he was genuine in his fear. He listened respectfully to me, in complete contrast to Nitschke, and we spoke for as long as possible with the queue of ardent young fans waiting for his autograph and a chance to speak to their hero. I could not deny them for very long. He was as kind to them as he had been in seeking me out in the first place.