Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Why assisted suicide should not be legalised in Britain

I have recently been published in a head to head with Sir Terence English in the Oxford Mail on whether assisted suicide should be legalised in Britain. My contribution to the debate is reproduced below. Perhaps not surprisingly I have said ‘no’.

Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide or euthanasia would inevitably place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden upon others.

The ‘right to die’ would so easily become the ‘duty to die’. This would especially affect people who are disabled, elderly, sick or depressed and would be greatly accentuated at this time of economic recession with families and health budgets under pressure.

Elder abuse and neglect by families, carers and institutions are already real and dangerous and would be made worse.

Any so-called ‘safeguards’ against abuse, such as limiting it to certain categories of people, will not work.

This is because exactly the same arguments – autonomy and compassion – would apply to people outside the categories decided upon and so any law allowing it for some would immediately be challenged under equality legislation.

If for terminally ill people, why not for those who have chronic illnesses but are ‘suffering unbearably’?

If for adults why not for ‘Gillick competent’ children? If for the mentally competent why not for people with dementia who ‘would have wanted it’?

The news coming from other jurisdictions which have gone down this route, particularly Belgium and the Netherlands, shows a pattern of incremental extension and pushing of the boundaries – an increase in cases year on year, a widening of categories of people to be included and people being killed without their consent.

Belgium has recently legalised euthanasia for children and in the Netherlands babies with spina bifida and people with dementia are already put to death.

This is why British parliaments have rightly rejected the legalisation of assisted suicide in Britain three times in the last seven years and why the vast majority of UK doctors, almost all medical groups including the British Medication Association (BMA), Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), and all major disabled people’s advocacy groups are also opposed.

Persistent requests for euthanasia are extremely rare if people are properly cared for, so our real priority must be to ensure that good care addressing people’s physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs is accessible to all.

This issue is understandably an emotive one but hard cases make bad law and even in a free democratic society there are limits to human freedom. Our present law with its blanket prohibition on all medical killing does not need changing.

The penalties it holds in reserve act as a strong deterrent to exploitation and abuse whilst giving discretion to prosecutors and judges to temper justice with mercy.

DR Peter Saunders is a retired surgeon and campaign director of the Care Not Killing Alliance, representing 40 organisations opposed to the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia:

36 comments:

  1. It is fascinating that the Left, the liberals and the Progressives - have no answer to life's great ethical problems except: Death.

    Once the Judaeo-Christian ethic of the Sanctity of Life is ejected from the public square - the yelling mob replaces it with chants of: death! death! death!

    ReplyDelete
  2. And so history repeats itself. The same mob in the 'yelling street' that had Truth beaten up; escorted to the scaffold under armed guard shouts: Crucify! Crucify! Crucify!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My. I never thought about this, properly, before: 'And so history repeats itself.'

      If your God does not change; and if Man does not change - then no wonder histroy repeats itself.

      He sends proto-types of Himself on Earth (the prophets); but to continue the cycle would result in meaninglessness.

      Then, He to whom the proto-types point arrives i our space and time.

      Man takes little notice; and yet His arrival seems to be what the past and present point to - and if they do then the future must point to Him.

      But the human tragic cycle still rolls on - and if it doesn't cease - then that too would be meaningless.

      Then, thematically, He must be coming back.

      This haunts me - this God - that rejects meaninglessness.

      My, I am nearly caught by the slipping into the world-view of the Judaeo-Christian

      Delete
  3. I bet you didn't know that in jurisdictions where voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal, patients actually live longer.

    Simply having the drugs does wonders for anxiety. Patients can concentrate on enjoying life instead of fearing torture at the end.

    Don't believe me? Read Killing Me Softly by Phillip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you agree with Peter that the best thing is to focus on end of life care and not fill the public psyche with bad stories of few tough cases?

      Delete
    2. End of life care can be improved without turning the terminally and incurably ill into slaves. And there are more than "just a few" tough cases.

      http://dwdv.org.au/faqs/182-isn-t-palliative-care-always-enough.html

      Delete
    3. Winnie - sorry Miss - it should read:

      'I bet you didn't know that in jurisdictions where voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal, patients actually live longer.'

      Winnie, 'voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide' terminate. It is oxymoronic to write: 'patients actually live longer'.

      Your opinions are comic.

      Delete
    4. And your arguments are non-existent. I bet you never considered the stratospheric suicide rate among the elderly in the UK (or anywhere for that matter).

      Simply having the means for a last-resort peaceful death if all else fails does wonders for anxiety and trepidation.

      Delete
    5. Another bald assertion without any evidential support.

      Delete
    6. Says you. If you'd simply read Killing Me Softly by Phillip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart, you'd know I was telling the truth.

      Delete
    7. I am convinced you are ill:

      'And your arguments are non-existent.'

      I have posted them above.

      Delete
    8. I'd rather be mentally ill than a fascist twuntservative like yourself and Peter.

      Delete
    9. Winnie

      Be careful for what you wish.

      Delete
  4. Hyperbole. Slaves indeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How so? If a nebulous entity such as "society" owns our lives, then we are slaves.

      Delete
    2. Say Winnie - if you argue that the old, the sick, the frail, those in pain (depression) and the vulnerable should be terminated - what's your argument against 'slavery'?

      Delete
    3. Liar. I'm arguing for individual choice, you conservative fascist (please forgive the tautology).

      Once again, we have a case of the pot calling the North Pole black.

      Delete
    4. Winnie:

      'I'm arguing for individual choice'.

      In other words you should choose to become a slaver or not.

      Say, Winnie: cool.

      Delete
    5. More projection. How is expanding choice even closely related to slavery?

      Delete
    6. Winnie - you wrote:

      'If a nebulous entity such as "society" owns our lives, then we are slaves.'

      I am using the Marxian method of reducing you to self-contradiction.

      Delete
    7. I fail to see the contradiction. You're not going to argue that slaves to Jesus are actually free, are you?

      Delete
    8. My Winnie. I never thought of it like that before. I mean becoming a slave of Jesus.

      I've wondered what that might entail. The paradox you suggest is tantalising. I mean to become a slave of Jesus?

      How can a slave be free?

      How can a slave of Jesus be free?

      It all depends on what He commands.

      When I examine what He commands: I ask myself will I be free?

      He first invites me to reject wrong-doing.

      He tells me that the Truth shall set me free.

      The paradox is this: by being His slave I become free - free of all those things that enslave me.

      For example, you are enslaved to being admired for your intellect and knowledge - and yet it is obvious that you use 'big words' to conceal your lack of maturity and knowledge.

      x










      Delete
    9. You didn't answer my question, so here it is again:

      How will increasing end-of-life choice enslave people?

      Delete
    10. As Dr Saunders wrote:

      'The ‘right to die’ would so easily become the ‘duty to die’. This would especially affect people who are disabled, elderly, sick or depressed and would be greatly accentuated at this time of economic recession with families and health budgets under pressure.'

      In other words the risk is that people, the old, the sick, the frail and the vulnerable will be treated in the same way as pro-choice slavers treated blacks.

      You just don't get it.

      You must have been educated as part of Blair's generation - kids who can only absorb (or plagiarise information) but who cannot think for themselves (thinking is hard work).

      That is why your posts are not thought through, incoherent, self-congratulatory, failure to marshal supprting evidence, rely upon sloganeering and ad hominem attacks.

      You're one of these youngsters, I bet, did not even study Latin.

      Ain't yer?

      However, all is not lost. Here's some advice: get an education before you sully another's day.

      Delete
    11. Why Winston's thought is really Nazi thought - watch this:

      'You didn't answer my question, so here it is again:

      How will increasing end-of-life choice enslave people?'

      Now transpose his mode of thought to Nazi Germany - are you watching boys?

      'You didn't answer my question, so here it is again:

      How will increasing end-of-life choice enslave Jews?'

      Delete
    12. He says it, but he doesn't provide any evidence for it. He's obviously assuming that non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia doesn't happen now (obviously nonsense).

      The Nazis never gave anyone a choice. You and Peter would feel right at home among them.

      Delete
    13. 'that non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia doesn't happen now (obviously nonsense).'

      Here, I must agree with you. Excellent insight and honest - which makes a change.

      Delete
    14. Correct. So what's the best way to reduce non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia? Prohibition's been tried and failed.

      Delete
    15. 'Prohibition's been tried and failed.'

      You're right Winnie 'Prohibition's been tried and failed.'

      Rape still happens even though it is prohibited - so why don't we decriminalize rape and ensure it happens in nice safe, clean rooms supported by on-call medical staff?

      Delete
    16. Winnie

      'The Nazis never gave anyone a choice.'

      Rommel.

      Delete
    17. Rape is non-consensual by definition. Voluntary euthanasia is the reverse.

      Go back to kindergarten. And please don't rape the girls this time.

      Delete
  5. This post should be re-titled "Why Peter Saunders deserves to be kidnapped and tortured until he turns 150."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Incoherent.

      Delete
    2. Ain't no justice like poetic justice. :P

      Delete
  6. Lol n Troll Network with the Name of Lols Gag where you can find Videos, Gif Images, Troll Images, Prank Peoples, Funny Peoples, funny planet, funny facts, funny cartoons, funny movies pics, iphone funny, funny jokes, Prank Images, Fail Pictures, Epic Pictures, Lols and Gags.
    LolsGag.Blogspot.Com

    ReplyDelete