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Church of England opposition to assisted suicide remains strong

Assisted Suicide
10 July 2022

The General Synod of the Church of England has reaffirmed its opposition to physician assisted suicide.

A motion by Dr Simon Eyre, a GP lay member of the Chichester Diocese, was moved on Sunday afternoon and passed with 289 votes in favour, 25 against and 33 abstentions.

It expressed appreciation for "the enormous and untiring efforts of health professionals, including healthcare chaplains, in constantly developing and maintaining the excellence of palliative and end of life care provision".

It called on the Government "to guarantee and expedite the adequate funding and resourcing of palliative care services within the NHS to ensure that the highest possible standards of care"

And it stressed that the current law against assisted suicide in the 1961 Suicide Act and its application through the Director of Public Prosecutions' Guidelines "should remain unchanged".

Dr Eyre told Synod that the situation in Canada provides an example of the so-called 'slippery slope', where legislation is necessarily widened over time.

When assisted dying was legalised in Canada in 2016, the legislation was restricted to those over 18 with a terminal prognosis.

However, after legal challenges the law was extended. Disabled people and, from March 2023, people with mental illness will be allowed an assisted death.

The Church of England's stance against assisted suicide has remained consistent over the years despite senior clergy sometimes flip flopping on the issue.

From a Christian perspective, legalising assisted suicide would be hugely problematic. In this blog, we explain why the Bible prohibits this practice: Christian views on assisted suicide | CARE

To read a more in-depth discussion of what the Bible says on end-of-life issues, read this booklet by Chris Buttenshaw, one of our policy officers: What does the Bible say?

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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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