CERVICAL Check whistleblower Vicky Phelan has voiced her support to the Dying with Dignity Bill that People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny is introducing to the Dáil this week.
The Bill would make provision to give to a person the legal and medical right of the authorisation of voluntary assisted dying where that person is suffering from a terminal illness.
If enacted, it would give a medical practitioner the legal right to provide the assistance to a qualifying person to end their life in accordance with the terms set out in the Act.
The Limerick health campaigner believes the time is right to have a debate on the issue of dying with dignity.
Speaking outside the gates of Leinster House on Monday, Ms Phelan, who has a terminal diagnosis with cervical cancer, made an impassioned plea for politicians to pass the legislation.
“We voted overwhelmingly in 2018 in favour of repealing the 8th Amendment to remove the constitutional ban on abortion. I am hoping that the people of Ireland, and the 160 TDs who serve us, will support this Bill and allow terminally ill people to end their life peacefully when the time comes”.
The mother-of-two also urged those who are opposed to assisted dying, to put themselves in her shoes and “imagine what it is like to be me, for even one minute and how frightening it is to know that I will most likely die in pain”.
“All I am asking is to be allowed to go gently, when my pain starts to become unmanageable. I do not want to die but I am going to die. Allow me to die with dignity, for my sake and for my young children’s sake,” she added.
“This Bill is about giving people who are at the end of their lives, in pain, the choice to do so gently before that happens, so that they don’t have a certain amount of suffering, unnecessary suffering,’ she said.
“We don’t do it to animals. I don’t see why we should do it to ourselves”.
She said she did not want her children to see her die in pain. Allow us to die a peaceful death with dignity. Palliative care does not always work. I have seen people in recent years with a certain amount of suffering that no pain management can get on top of.
“I don’t want my children to see me like that. All I am asking for is a choice”.
She added that during a previous battle with depression she may have considered availing of ending her own life if it was available but she now believes that would have been a mistake.
“I have suffered from depression myself and I know if this Bill had been in when I was in a really bad place, I may have taken advantage of it.
“That would have been the wrong decision because I’m fine now,” she said.