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Current approach to assisted suicide is best, says CARE CEO

Assisted Suicide
4 July 2024
Ross Hendry Headshot

CARE's CEO has said the existing approach to assisted suicide is best, following reports of a mother who ended her young son's life.

Antonya Cooper admitted giving her terminally ill seven-year-old son a large dose of morphine in order to "quietly end his life".

The case has reignited debate about physician assisted suicide, which several organisations are campaigning for across the UK.

In Scotland, MSPs are considering legislation to give people with terminal conditions access to lethal drugs from doctors.

Commenting on the Cooper case, CARE CEO Ross Hendry said:

“The circumstances of this case are distressing, and it is heartbreaking to think about the experience of Ms Cooper’s son, Hamish, and her own battle with cancer. When it comes to ‘assisted dying’, we strongly believe that the current approach should remain in place across the UK. There are a number of reasons for this.

“Assisted suicide is unethical, and medically dangerous. The lethal substances given to people in this process can cause terrible suffering. Campaigners vying for a change in the law are not honest about this. There is also no way to rule out abuses against vulnerable patients through subtle coercion, mistakes, and malpractice.

“Certain people would face invisible pressure to end their lives because they cannot access the care they need. Poverty, loneliness and despair would also affect decisions. Keeping assisted suicide illegal and assessing individual cases with great care is the best approach. We must also invest much more in palliative and end-of-life care.”

The Scottish Parliament's Health, Social Care and Sport Committee is consulting on assisted suicide legislation.

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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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