Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Sir Patrick Stewart made known his views on assisted suicide recently for a documentary to air on BBC Two.
A patron of Dignity in Dying, an organization which is actively campaigning to have the law changed so that mentally competent, terminally ill adults may choose assisted suicide, Stewart’s views on the matter were formed after his own health issues and that of a family friend made him think about mortality.
Illnesses in Stewart’s family and circle of friends also impacted how Stewart felt about assisted suicide. “…I had a family member who had been very ill and quite recently I’d heard the story of an illness and a death,” he said. His friend was “driven to an extreme situation of ending their life in the most ghastly way.
“I have the strong feeling that, should the time come for me, having had no role in my birth I would like there to be a choice I might make about how I die.”
Stewart is not the only high-profile person who supports Dignity in Dying. Author Sir Terry Pratchett will also appear in the BBC documentary. “I believe everybody possessed of a debilitating and incurable disease should be allowed to pick the hour of their death,” said Pratchett, who was diagnosed in 2008 with a form of Alzheimers.
The documentary will be shown on BBC Two this summer.