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'Assisted Dying Bill poses wrong answer to right question' - Nola Leach

Assisted Suicide
22 October 2021
Nola 2

Assisted suicide legislation before the UK Parliament poses the “wrong answer to the right question”, CARE has said, as a lengthy debate on the proposals concludes in the Lords.

Today, more than a hundred Peers asked to speak on Lady Meacher's Assisted Dying Bill during a second reading debate in the Lords which lasted almost ten hours.

Nola Leach, CEO of CARE, commented:

“Like all of the parliamentarians who spoke in today's debate, we recognise that issues relating to the end of life are difficult and sensitive. The Assisted Dying Bill poses the wrong answer to the right question – ‘how can we provide better care and support to citizens facing terminal illnesses?’

"We believe that giving assent to assisted suicide would undermine the caring ethic which underpins our medical profession and society at large. Introducing such a regime would integrate into our culture the belief that certain lives are no longer worth living, and would legitimise the involvement of doctors, society’s preservers of life, in the procurement of death.

“This debate is not just about personal freedom for the dying, who of course deserve our sympathy and concern; it is about giving medical practitioners the legal power to facilitate the ending of another person’s life and the societal implications of such a move. Whist for some the bill may be perceived as granting choice, marginalised groups are concerned that it will lead to others seeing the option as a duty to end their lives.

“For others struggling to access high quality care, it may seem to be the only choice open to them. Hospice UK has estimated that as many as one in four people in the UK are not able to access the palliative and end of life care services and support needed. There is a huge risk that this lack of choice combined with the provision of a state-assisted suicide will result in some terminally ill patients reluctantly opting for an assisted death when they would have preferred to live their life to completion with appropriate symptom relief.

“The terrible experience of other jurisdictions should be warning enough against pursuing a change in the law in the UK. Laws have been radically extended. Canada’s law is now accessible by those with disabilities and will soon be accessible to citizens with treatable mental illnesses such as depression. In both Oregon and Washington there has been an increase in medical conditions considered as falling within the scope of the law. And in Belgium and the Netherlands, the original criteria have been expanded to include children.

“There is only one cast iron guarantee against these troubling scenarios being played out in the UK under a domestic ‘Assisted Dying Act’ – keeping the door to such legislation firmly closed. We call on parliamentarians to defend the cause of the vulnerable, the marginalised and the oppressed and vote down these proposals.”


Notes for Editors:

CARE is a well-established mainstream Christian charity providing resources and helping to bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives. CARE is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies.

For interview requests or more information please contact Jamie Gillies:

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Assisted Suicide

Where assisted suicide is legal, it makes vulnerable people feel like a burden. CARE works to uphold laws that protect those people, and to assist them to live—not to commit suicide.

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