CARE: Christian Action, Research and Education

For what you believe
Open menu Close menu

Commentator: assisted suicide would be a 'healthy development'

Assisted Suicide
4 April 2024
Carer hands holding frail palliative care care home nursing

Commentator Matthew Parris has said that if assisted suicide is legalised this would increase pressure on the most vulnerable, but this would be no bad thing.

In a controversial article written for The Times, he argued that a healthy society must adapt its norms and taboos and moral codes.

He doesn't argue with the view put forward by opponents of assisted suicide - including CARE - that legalisation of this practice will lead to more people wondering if they should choose an assisted suicide so they are not a burden on others.

But he says such questions are already with us and to think like that is natural and right. In fact, Parris says some will even ask themselves if it is selfish not to.

According to Parris, assisted suicide legalisation would be a 'healthy development'.

He asks how our western economies will pay for the 'ruinously expensive overhand that dare not speak its name: old age and infirmity.'

He goes on to say:

It may sound brutal, but I don’t apologise for the reductivist tone in which this column treats human beings as units — in deficit or surplus to the collective. For a society as much as for an individual, self-preservation must shine a harsh beam on to the balance between input and output. To protect its future, a healthy society must adapt its norms, its cultural taboos and its moral codes. This does not usually happen by decree but by a largely unconscious general creep. People begin changing their minds, often unaware of why.
Matthew Parris Commentator
Watch the problem with assisted suicide

Brief response

Parris is to be commended for his honesty. All too often, the push for assisted suicide is disguised by proponents as a push for compassion. There is plenty of talk of safeguards and limited criteria.

But global evidence shows us that Parris is right. If you legalise assisted suicide, over time, and quickly, the numbers go up and the criteria is expanded. In extreme situations, like the Netherlands, even children can be euthanised in certain circumstances.

Where Parris goes horribly wrong is his view that it is legitimate to view human beings as 'units'. In a recent article for the Spectator, he admits this is the product of Darwinist social thought. If all we are is a bag of chemicals, when the 'machine' that is our body goes wrong, what's the harm in 'switching it of'?

Yet in the Christian worldview, we are not just machines. We are 'fearfully and wonderfully made' (Psalm 139:13-14). We are both frail (Psalm 8:4), but also magnificent creations by a good God, made in His image (Psalm 8:5). We are both body and soul, made by God, for God.

As a result, life really is sacred. It is to be protected. And thanks to palliative care, the hospice movement and advances in medical understanding, we are in a far better place today to address an ageing population than we were even 50 years ago.

At CARE, we believe this reflects God's better story for His world.

Watch Tony's Story - a story of hope and faith in the face of Alzheimer's and death

Receive news from CARE each week

By signing up stay in touch you agree to receive emails from CARE. You can change your mailing preferences at any time either by getting in touch with CARE, or through the links on any of our emails.

Recent news in Assisted Suicide


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.

Find out more about the cause