WHY are we so scared of allowing people the right to choose how they die?

The question has been raised again this week in a report which found that hundreds of people in Scotland every year are enduring "unbearable pain" at the end of their lives, even with palliative care.

The report was commissioned by Dignity in Dying, a campaign group lobbying for lawmakers to adopt a right-to-die model first developed in Oregon which entitles terminally ill people to request a lethal dose of medicine from their doctor which they can self-administer.

This is arguably the 'softest' form of assisted suicide since it limits the right only to adults with a terminal condition and an estimated six months' life expectancy.

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They must be physically capable of administering and ingesting a fatal dose without assistance - a caveat that would be likely to exclude most people with extremely advanced forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) or motor neurone disease (MND), for example, since at the point where they would have prognosis of just six months these motor functions would long since have failed.

Adults requesting an assisted death in the Oregon model also have to be mentally competent - ruling out conditions such as dementia.

Opponents argue that adopting the Oregon model in Scotland would be a 'slippery slope' whereby the right-to-die is gradually extended beyond the terminally ill, and erodes into a "duty to die".

You get the idea: grasping relatives don't want to see their inheritance frittered away on care home bills, or a cash-strapped state sees an opportunity to cut social care costs by promoting right-to-die policies.

That's certainly not a society most of us would want to live in.

But the thing is, I don't really want to live in a society where I have no freedom to choose a dignified death either - and I find that prospect even more terrifying.

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How many of us have had a family member who always said that their worst nightmare would be ending up in a care home debilitated by Alzheimer's - or telling relatives 'just pop me a pill' if their quality of life is ruined by some degenerative or vegetative condition?

Yet, if such a thing happens we are unable to do anything but watch, in anguish, as they endure it. That is a real nightmare, now.

Why can't we sign up - like the donor organ scheme - to indicate our wishes in advance by opting in or out of assisted dying, ticking under which scenarios we would wish to have our death hastened?

I find that idea liberating and reassuring, not frightening.

And I doubt I'm alone.