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Roger Kiska: High Court refuses Noel Conway permission to bring assisted suicide claim

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An attempt to challenge the law on assisted suicide has failed at the High Court. Noel Conway wanted to change the law so that terminally ill people could be prescribed lethal drugs by a doctor.

Christian Concern's Roger Kiska shows how the legalisation of assisted suicide in European countries has led to huge numbers of people committing suicide with a doctor's help. He calls us to be vigilant and never allow our vulnerable citizens to fall prey to "doctor prescribed death".

Noel Conway, a terminally ill assisted suicide campaigner, has lost his permission hearing before the high court seeking to challenge existing prohibitions against doctor prescribed death. Denying permission, Lord Justice Burnet held that the Supreme Court had looked at the matter in 2014 and decided that it was a matter for Parliament to review and they did just that. As such the court found that there was no case to bring.

Dr Peter Saunders, Campaign Director for the Care Not Killing Alliance commented: "This is not a day for celebration. This was a troubling case that sought to usurp the democratic will of Parliament. Only a year and half ago, MPs looked very carefully at this complex issue and comprehensively rejected changing the law by 330 votes to 118. 

"Changing the law is also opposed by every major disability rights organisation and doctors' group, including the BMA, Royal College of GPs and the Association for Palliative Medicine who have looked at this issue in detail and concluded that there is no safe system of assisted suicide and euthanasia anywhere in the world."

The risk of assisted suicide

The Christian Legal Centre, recognizing the risk of assisted suicide and euthanasia laws to the most vulnerable in our society: the sick, elderly, depressed or disabled; recently supported Nikki and Merv Kenward in their case challenging the DPP's relaxing of its prosecutorial guidelines relating to medical personnel who participate in bringing on an unnatural death.

That case was important because European history has shown that once adopted, doctor-prescribed death escapes regulation and the circumstances in which it is allowed grows rapidly and exponentially. Examples abound. In Switzerland, once doctor prescribed death was adopted, the instances of assisted suicide grew an astonishing 700 percent in just 10 years. In the Netherlands, instances of unreported involuntary euthanasia are rampant. That means the death of patients who have not given their consent to die: our mothers and fathers, our grandparents, and our disabled. The courts in the Netherlands have now even extended assisted suicide to cases involving depression, even where no physical suffering is present. And in Belgium, only 2 years ago, they legalised child euthanasia and assisted suicide. That means a child who is too young to smoke, drink, vote, or rent a car can voluntarily end his or her life. And these examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

For those who believe that such an unregulated expansion cannot happen in the United Kingdom, they need look no further than the legalisation of abortion in 1967. In 1967, there were 21,400 abortions in the United Kingdom. In 2016, those figures jumped to an astonishing 208,553 abortions; that is 8,500,000 unborn children having lost their lives since 1967. The practise of abortion has become largely unregulated with safeguards and procedures meant to protect the unborn going largely ignored. Clearly, if adopted, assisted suicide and euthanasia laws would take on the same tragic trajectory here in the United Kingdom.

As much as the media or campaign organisations try to paint assisted suicide as the proverbial velvet pillow death surrounded by loved ones, the reality has proven that it is something very different. We must be vigilant and never allow the scourge that is doctor prescribed death to put our most vulnerable citizens at risk as it has so notoriously in other European jurisdictions. 

Related Links: 
Disability campaigners to appeal High Court ruling on DPP's assisted suicide policy 
Christian campaigner welcomes High Court's desicison on assisted dying (Premier)
Man terminally ill with motor neurone disease loses court bid to change law on assisted dying (Telegraph) 


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