Assisted death has always been a touchy subject for religionists — who are generally against it for no other reason than they believe it is against holy writ. They make noises about the danger of coercion, of a "slippery slope", but these objections appear to be so much smoke, intended to conceal their real (and arbitrary) reasons for opposing it.
Those who show true compassion in this matter tend to be the godless ones, unfettered by irrational scripture, and I can cite no better example than fantasy novelist Sir Terry Pratchett, a notable humanist, in his BBC Richard Dimbleby Lecture, broadcast on Monday 1 February 2010:
Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUE3pBIuAGk
Part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xZqArQL790
Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27sxmL2vo80
Part 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPkUYWzYfFw
Part 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=do3ZYt70tg4
Part 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f6NMm__EVg
With heartfelt sincerity, plus his characteristic wit, Sir Terry tells it like it is, superbly mediated by his "stunt Pratchett" and friend, Tony Robinson. Watch, listen, and know the truth.
( BitTorrent-enabled users can get a high-definition version here: