Imagine, if you will, that one day you wake up and there’s a strange sensation in your hand. You’re not sure what it is until you go to lift up a pen and you realise your thumb is twitching, almost like your leaning on a nerve. Only you’re not. In fact, now that you’ve noticed it, you can think of a number of times it’s done that in the last few weeks and perhaps you should get it checked out.
But you don’t.
A few weeks later, maybe a few months, maybe longer, you notice your legs seem to get very tired very quickly, they feel like lead a lot of the time and so you’ve started walking slower. You trip occasionally. You can’t drive as far as you used to. You’re out for the day with a friend, a family member, your partner, whomever and they notice after waiting for you to catch up for the fifteenth time that you’re shuffling. They ask you what’s wrong. You tell them you don’t feel right.
At the Doctor’s appointment that follows you get told you have a disease that will mean your arms and legs will become twitching alien limbs over which you will no longer be allowed to assert control. That one day – not too far in the future – you may find it hard to talk, may need help dressing yourself, maybe even help getting to and from the bathroom. That one day this disease may stop you twitching altogether.
Imagine you find it hard to breath because it feels like your lungs are constantly half full of water, you get terrible coughs on a regular basis and you’ve had pneumonia a couple of times. You could cope with all this if it wasn’t for the fact your stomach was a turgid alien world that churned and bubbled all the time. If going to the bathroom wasn’t an exercise in self-control in stopping yourself retching from the vile smells emanating from your body. But you’re not worried; the doctor says it’ll all be over soon.
Imagine you’re five years old. You don’t know much about anything but you know that walking is something that should be easy and isn’t, you know that other kids don’t get calf pain all the time, in fact most five year olds don’t know what their calf is.
But you do.
Imagine you struggle to play football or rugby or whatever because breathing is hard and you fall over all the time because the world is a gyroscope winding to a halt.
Just like you.
Now, no matter which of the above you chose, imagine there was someone who thought they could help you, who wanted to help you, only they’re not allowed.
They’re not allowed because another person says they can’t.
Not because it’s dangerous, not because it’s going to hurt anyone, not because it’s going to cause pain of any kind, not because it’s going to bring down governments and not because it’s going to allow the slaughter of whole populations.
No, they’re not allowed because someone says it’s immoral.