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Keir Starmer wants assisted suicide debate in Parliament

Assisted Suicide
13 March 2024
Keir Starmer shutterstock

The Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer has promised to allow parliamentary time for a vote on legalising assisted suicide.

Starmer, who personally supports a change in law, said there would need to be 'safeguards with teeth' to help protect the most vulnerable from the risk of coercion or abuse.

Assisted suicide has been in the news after Dame Esther Rantzen publicly called on Parliament to back a change in the current law.

In a phone call with Starmer, he told her that a Labour government would allow MPs time to debate and vote on a change in the law.

No 10 said it would be up to Parliament whether the law was changed.

Currently, assisting someone to commit suicide is illegal under the Suicide Act 1961 and carries the possible sentence of up to 14 years in prison.

Commenting on Starmer's comments, CEO of Care Not Killing Dr Gordon Macdonald said:

Changing the law to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia in the UK would represent a dramatic change in how doctors and nurses treat and care for people and put the lives of the vulnerable, terminally ill and disabled people at risk.
Dr Gordon Macdonald CEO Care Not Killing

Assisted Sui­cide — should Chris­ti­ans sup­port a change in the law?

This is a highly emotive topic, especially for anyone who is living with a terminal diagnosis or knows a loved one who is suffering.

At CARE, we support high quality palliative care as a brilliant way of addressing the total pain associated with the end of someone's life.

Pioneered by a Christian, palliative care is a holistic form of care, which addresses relational, mental, emotional, spiritual and physical pain.

In this way, we can help ensure a good death, without taking the step to give a patient a lethal drug so they can kill themselves.

We cannot agree that assisted suicide is 'compassionate' because in the Christian Worldview, it is always wrong to help someone kill themselves.

Any assisted suicide law would place a genuine, yet subtle burden on some of the frailest in our communities. A message would be sent to them and others that if you are seriously ill, or infirm, perhaps you should think about ending your own life so you are not a burden.

But our response to someone's fear of being a burden must be to show genuine compassion - the word literally means to suffer alongside - by carrying their burden and affirming their value and dignity.

Nola talks about the death of her husband Tony and why she fears a change in the law

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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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