Lord Falconer publishes new draft Bill on assisted suicide
A new draft Bill recommending assisted suicide, and a consultation on the draft, have been launched this week by euthanasia lobby group ‘Dignity in Dying’ (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) with the assistance of Parliamentary group ‘Choice at the End of Life’.
Once the consultation is closed on 20 November 2012, leading euthanasia campaigner Lord Falconer QC will table the draft Bill as a Private Members Bill in the House of Lords.
Lord Falconer wants doctors to be given the power to help mentally competent adults with less than one year to live to kill themselves.
Over the last six years there have been three failed attempts to legalise assisted suicide in Britain, all of which have failed due to concerns about public safety.
The debate surrounding the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide has increased in intensity this month.
Last week the British Medical Association defeated a motion calling on it to move its official position on assisted suicide from ‘opposed’ to ‘neutral’.
Euthanasia lobbyists are descending on Parliament today (4 July) to lobby Parliament and to be addressed by Sir Terry Pratchett.
Campaign group Care Not Killing, of which Christian Concern is a member, held an alternative rally and mass lobby of Parliament yesterday (3 July), aimed at resisting the weakening of end of life laws.
Speakers included Ann Widdecombe, Lord Alton of Liverpool, Jim Dobbin MP, Fiona Bruce MP, Dr Peter Saunders and others.
Peter Saunders, Campaigns Director of Care Not Killing, said:
“At a time of economic recession and shrinking health budgets we are going to hear more and more demands for euthanasia based on economic grounds.
“Of course they will always be carefully clothed in the language of autonomy and compassion subtly disguising the fact that there are mainly families and politicians who have a lot to gain financially if those whose lives are judged to be worthless can be ‘mercifully released’.
“We have 15-20 Britons going to the Dignitas facility in Switzerland each year to kill themselves currently. But with an Oregon or Dutch law we would have 1,200 or 13,000 deaths annually respectively. And given the level of prejudice in this country that already exists towards the elderly it could be many more.”
Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:
“It is absolutely vital that the current law remains as it is to protect the disabled, sick and elderly from exploitation at the hands of relatives and physicians.
“People who are suffering need to be shown compassion, protected from those who would abuse them and also protected from being made to feel under any pressure to die.