It may be that our total ban on mercy killings
is not appropriate in every case, and that now is the time to break the taboo and open up the debate on a life and death issue.
A devoted husband who admitted carrying out a mercy killing
on his terminally ill wife in an "act of love" dramatically walked free from court.
Liberal Democrat Chris Davies said the mercy killing
law should apply so that terminally ill people experiencing pain or suffering could choose for themselves if they wanted to end their lives peacefully.
Even in Holland mercy killings
are legal only within strict guidelines involving two separate opinions from doctors.
In Holland, voluntary euthanasia has been decriminalised since 1984 - but there are strict rules and mercy killings
can only be carried out at the patient's "explicit request" and when there is "intolerable suffering without prospect of improvement".
Hospital worker Efren Saldivar, from the Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Los Angeles, has been suspended after allegedly admitting to the mercy killings
of up to 50 terminally ill patients.
This measure does not authorize lethal injection, mercy killings
, or active euthanasia.
Saldivar's attorney, Terry Goldberg of Woodland Hills, who has denied that his client committed any mercy killings
, scheduled a press conference for today to discuss the case.
While saying he accepted the Association's response entirely and stressing all killings were serious, he repeated his remarks that there could be mercy killings
of Down's Syndrome sufferers.
Four years ago police probed Elaine Chase, 52, over the alleged mercy killings
but never brought criminal charges.
Saldivar has been at the center of a massive Glendale Police Department investigation since March 1998, when police say he confessed to 40 to 50 mercy killings
at the hospital.
A controversial law came into force allowing mercy killings
for the terminally ill and those in "unbearable" agony.