Assisted Suicide Bill (UK) petition

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

On Friday, the House of Lords will debate Baroness Meacher’s bill on Assisted Suicide for the second time.

If this becomes law, it will fundamentally change the relationship between doctors and patients and has the potential to undermine the NHS. The idea of dignified death via assisted suicide is a myth. This article, which makes for difficult reading, lays out the realities.

Doctors will no longer have a duty to protect and preserve lives and at a time when the NHS is already under so much pressure, overstretched physicians may not have enough time or the clinical ability to assess a patient’s capacity.

For months the media has been full of reports about how difficult it is to get a face-to-face GP appointment. How can we  trust a GP who might only have seen a person a handful of times to really know that a patient is not being coerced or feeling under pressure to take their own life? The same applies to any busy hospital consultant or registrar in a bustling or overcrowded hospital. 

For millennia the medical profession has abided by the principle embodied in the Hippocratic Oath: ‘do no harm. The role of doctors has always been to treat symptoms and to seek healing and cure. 

Assisted suicide authorises doctors to deliberately bring about the deaths of other people. We simply cannot allow this to happen. Once we enshrine the principle of allowing doctors to intentionally kill their patients into law, it will be impossible to go back. This will set a legal precedent because it will establish a principle whereby euthanasia is considered to be in a patient’s best interests. 

Once legalised, just like abortion is now automatically offered as an option to any woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, so too will assisted suicide be offered as part of a ‘care plan’ to patients diagnosed with a terminal condition. If a doctor suggests that a patient might want to consider suicide as one of their options, then of course that person is going to feel under pressure!

We know how much pressure the NHS is under as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ending someone’s life is much cheaper than providing months or years of palliative care. How long will it be before the alleged ‘right to die’ morphs into a duty to die?

We must stand up for the vulnerable! Add your voice to the campaign telling the government to resist calls to legalise euthanasia.The government must learn the strength of the opposition, not only from members of the general public like you and me but also from palliative care specialists and people with disabilities.

A recent survey from the British Medical Association showed that over 76% of palliative care specialists opposed the legalisation of assisted suicide. There is not a single group of medics who support this measure.

All major disability rights groups in the United Kingdom are also opposed to the introduction of assisted suicide.

Baroness Meacher’s bill is the fourth attempt in recent years to force the government to introduce assisted-suicide. We know that despite the rhetoric about safeguards, campaigners will continue to push the envelope.

If euthanasia is allowed for a supposedly small group of people, how long before it is opened up to others in the name of ‘equality’? If euthanasia can be allowed for those with only a short time to live, why not those living with chronic conditions or disabilities? What about those with mental health problems? Or even children, as we have seen in Holland.

We must not allow this to take root. Campaigners will keep pushing and pushing at this issue, so we must urge the government to stand firm.

Changing the law would fundamentally and irrevocably change the role of doctors and physicians from those seeking to heal to those who decide whether or not we are allowed to live.

You don’t need me to tell you how dangerous this is.

Sign here and let Boris Johnson, Sajid David and Dominic Raab know of your opposition to any relaxation of the assisted suicide laws.

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