Lawyers for terminally-ill Wellington lawyer Lecretia Seales last week argued that a doctor should be allowed to help her die, without criminal prosecution.

As we await the High Court judge's decision, it has emerged Ms Seales may not live long enough to hear the outcome.

Her husband Matt Vickers posted on his blog the condition of his wife, who has an inoperable brain tumour, had worsened and her whole body was paralysed.

"Lecretia's choice is imminent, and we don't know yet if she will get to make it," wrote Mr Vickers.


He said he did not know whether his wife would choose to die if the court ruled she could, "for Lecretia, it was always having the choice that mattered, not the choice itself".

For ordinary people, our view on euthanasia is usually ruled by our heart, an instinctive feel for what is right, fair and just. If Ms Seales wants to choose when she dies, who are we to argue? But of course it is never that simple and nor should it be.

Society's collective values and viewpoints change over time and eventually, laws and regulations change to reflect that. The example of same-sex marriage springs to mind.

But it takes time and needs to go through the correct process. Changes to laws must be carefully considered and drafted to achieve the goal of granting human beings control over their own bodies and their own death, without any unintended negative side effects.

Often it takes an extraordinary individual to become the face for the campaign for change - willingly or not - to speed that process up a little.

The wheels of justice may not move quickly enough to allow Ms Seales to choose when she dies.

But her determination in the final stages of her life could help others in the future to do so.