How does Mary Warnock persuade the readers to accept her viewpoint
The article observes the viewpoint of Mary Warnock on the Diane Pretty case. Diane Pretty had motor neurone disease and was almost at the point where she wouldn’t be able to move. She appealed to the judicial system in order to claim the right for her husband to assist her in ending her life, and not being prosecuted for doing so. This presented the government and courts with a very tough decision. There are two main parts to Mary Warnock’s argument. One is that Diane Pretty should be granted assisted suicide, and the other is that the judges need to make an unbiased decision.
However, her opinion is highly biased. She leans towards Pretty’s argument throughout her own. She is not, however, able to put forward just her own thoughts. Warnock has also to incorporate the opposite side of the argument. At the beginning we see a hard, negative fact, referring to sickness with no recovery, which makes an impact on us, the readers. This increases our sympathy for those with terminal illness; in this case, Diane Pretty. Warnock also uses a pattern of three in this paragraph. She uses the word ‘Nor’ as a substitute for ‘or’.
The fact that she repeats it emphasises the negativity. The negativity makes us think about what it would be like to be in that type of situation. After reading this paragraph, you, the reader realise that no amount of words will comfort them. Warnock then shows us what the life of someone with a terminal illness is like. Warnock carefully chooses to say, “They MAY know that they are within sight of death”. This is a good choice of words, as not all people with terminal illness will know they are near death.
It also generalises the population of terminal illness, as Warnock did not use he/she. She also uses very dramatic language such as “bleak, short future” This is another attempt at gaining sympathy from the readers. Next, Mary Warnock gives a short description of Diane Pretty’s case. “A mother of two with motor neurone disease. ” When she says ‘A mother of two’ she gets the emotion and deep feeling from the readers because you think about the children who will soon lose their mother. Warnock states that a high court judge ‘mercifully’ ruled in Pretty’s favour in the initial stage of the case.
The word “mercifully” shows that she agrees with the judge’s decision. Furthermore, Warnock argues that Pretty’s husband should be allowed to assist her in death. She compares abortion to euthanasia with the use of the word ‘Terminate’. Many people believe abortion is the right thing to do when a foetus is malformed. By linking an abortion to euthanasia, she goes on to say “it must therefore be right” and progresses her argument to the point of “If this is morally right” before developing it to “It is right”.
The readers are subtly convinced into taking this side of the argument. Additionally, there is the religious counter argument towards Diane Pretty’s case. Religion says that life is sacred and as a gift from God, it is His to give and take as He pleases. Those who are terminally ill and religious believe that they must have been sent to suffer in the world. What she thinks the views of disabled people on the issue of abortion and euthanasia, is used as an example here.
However, for a disabled person to be able to forward opinions such as that, would mean they could not be too badly disabled, therefore not having the right to place that kind of opinion in an instance such as this. Warnock uses a lot of dramatic language such as “condemned”, “distressing” and “painful” to form an impact on the readers. She ends on a rhetorical question to involve the reader in the article.
The third counter-argument, forwards the fact that life is a gift from God and it is His to give and take as He pleases. Warnock uses analogy to connect this to something that people can relate to. If I give you a present, it is yours to do as you like with; if you dislike it, you can throw it out” Warnock also uses a few rhetorical questions to involve the reader in the article. e. g. “Why should it be different with God’s gifts? ” She ends on a sentence, “If the argument is not based on this dogma, then it must be based on the fear that if euthanasia were legitimised, the right would be abused”. This leads on to the next paragraph in such a subtle way, you hardly notice it. Warnock goes on to display her own opinion.
She repeats the word ‘serious’ to make an impact of the severity of this situation. Although Warnock is expressing her opinion in this paragraph, she explains the effect of the families of the sick/old on the patient. She explains that even though most families are loving, some are more interested in what’s in it for them; that they could misrepresent the wishes of the patient in order to claim their share of the will. She therefore believes that the decision for euthanasia should be forwarded by the patient. Additionally, Warnock shows the contrast between the argument and euthanasia.
She uses five phrases to describe death; each one more subtle than the last. This makes us sympathetic when she links it to euthanasia, convincing us that it is no different from ‘wished-for death’. She also explains that the decision to allow euthanasia should be made judicially, immediately after the claim is made. Furthermore, Warnock uses a previous example of a case of this nature to back up her argument; the Tony Bland case. He was in the same position as Pretty whereby he required assisted death. However, Bland was given approval for assisted suicide.
Pretty is being denied the privilege. Though some were outraged by the decision of the Bland case, Warnock describes that judges are given all the details before continuing with the decision. To conclude the article, Warnock shows her belief that the moral judgement is better made by the judge, rather than third parties who may make a biased decision. It also prevents the families etc. from making a potentially difficult decision. What persuaded the judge to rule against Diane Pretty’s bid for euthanasia? Why did the court rule in favour of Tony Bland and not Diane Pretty?
Is it sexism? Or is it simply the way things have changed? Thousands of people campaign for the right of euthanasia; but this particular case attracted media attention because Pretty and her husband believed so strongly in it that they decided to take their campaign to the highest level. Had the courts ruled in favour of Diane Pretty easily, they would have shown the world how flimsy their system is. They had to at least put up a fight in order to prevent others with terminal illness thinking that it would be easy to get granted the right to euthanasia.