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Lords must now ensure proper scrutiny in Committee of deep flaws in Assisted Suicide Bill

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ssued on behalf of Christian Concern

News Release

For Immediate Release

18th July 2014


Andrea Minichiello Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern, has reacted to news that Lord Falconer's 'Assisted Dying' Bill will move to Committee Stage, saying:

“Widespread media coverage in recent days, coming on top of comments by Supreme Court Judges, has raised the profile of the issue of Assisted Suicide. So it perhaps unsurprising that the House of Lords has decided to give further time to scrutinise the Bill, especially since the high number of Peers who wished to speak meant that contributions had to be so short.

“We urge the Lords to ensure that proper scrutiny does now take place. This is a matter of life and death. It cannot be decided on the basis of sound-bites nor simply on the basis of sentiment, however much we all wish to see an end to suffering. The underlying principles and inevitable consequences of this Bill need to be teased out. When the arguments against are carefully examined, support for Assisted Suicide plummets. We look forward to the Committee Stage exposing the many flaws in this Bill.

“Whatever the intention, this Bill would not promote compassion but would create a climate of fear and even cruelty. The major disabled groups recognise the immense pressure that this Bill would place on people to consider ending their life prematurely. People’s lives are made no less valuable because of illness and it would be a sad day if our law stopped recognising this fact. If this Bill were voted through, it would be a disaster for terminally and severely ill people across the country. We must maintain proper protections for those who are vulnerable.
“True compassion demands that we re-double our efforts to care for those who are in need not offer or even encourage them to kill themselves. There is all the difference in the world between withdrawing treatment by consent and actively facilitating killing. If we allow doctors to be moved from being protectors or life to catalysts of death we will shatter the bond of trust between doctor and patient.

"Hospice and palliative care in this country is the best in the world, yet it is still patchy and sadly under-resourced.  A truly compassionate and humane response to those in their latter days would be to provide more palliative care resources across the UK and not to give vulnerable people - who may feel they are a burden to loved ones - the resources through doctors to kill themselves.

“The cases of individuals like Tony Nicklinson and others are heart-breaking but the Assisted Suicide Bill does not deal with such cases. In fact it would only make things worse, not better. For people with severe or terminal illness, the way to make their lives better is just that: to make their life better, not to end it.”

"Life is a precious gift from God. Once we decide that we can take his place we open the door to fear and oppression. This Bill reflects an outlook on life that enthrones personal autonomy above public safety; that sees no meaning or purpose in suffering; that appears profoundly naïve about the abuse of elderly and disabled people, and that looks forward to no future beyond the grave. It is a counsel of despair that contrasts starkly with the faith, hope and love of the Christian gospel."

For further information / interview:

Andrea Minichiello Williams: 
07712 591 164


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