Assisted dying is slowly turning into a fashionable, liberal cause

Aug 25, 2015 by

By Tim Stanley, Telegraph: Britain is inching towards the legalisation of euthanasia. Next month the House of Commons will debate overturning the ban on assisted dying – with the stipulation that the patient must have no more than six months to live, be able to make a “clear and settled intention” and have the approval of two doctors. It sounds foolproof. It’s also backed by a growing number of high profile stories of people so ill, so desperate that it’s hard not to sympathise with their decision to circumvent UK law and go to Dignitas. In an age when the boundaries of personal liberty are being pushed ever further, this seems like a rational and humane reform. Except that it’s neither. It’s a terrible idea to base law upon individual cases of extreme circumstances. And while liberal reformers plead that they simply want to make the law reflect the realities of human experience, they overlook those human experiences that contradict their argument. Nearly 80 doctors across the country have written to the Telegraph to warn that the proposal could “devalue the most vulnerable in society.” They say that they regularly encounter patients who: “are under pressure from within to remove themselves as a burden on their hard-pressed families.” Read here    ...

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Assisted suicide: The Christian vote is being used and abused

Aug 24, 2015 by

By Nola Leach, Christian Today: Spot a man about to drown in his car and many of us would instinctively want to try and help him. Just recently, ITV’s renowned political editor Tom Bradby was left shaking with rage after he attempted to save a drowning man while officials and police officers stood by doing nothing. Many people having read that story would understandably take Bradby’s side and share his frustration. When faced with a potential suicide attempt by a desperate man, we rightly feel we should do all we can to save him. Yet at the same time a bill is about to be debated in Parliament to enable doctors, whose job is to save lives and help deal with patients’ problems, to prescribe medication to enable a patient to take their own life. Now, supporters of this bill would have us believe that this is in tune with public opinion. They will glibly talk about how many people are being ‘forced’ to travel to Dignitas to end their own lives because the current law in the UK on assisted suicide is ‘broken’. As the media will happily give profile to highly emotive cases such as Mr Bob Cole, it is easy to swallow the idea that changing the law will bring relief to many people who simply want the right to end their own life, peacefully, in their own homes. Read here...

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Giving sick dogs a humane death is no argument for killing off Granny, too

Aug 24, 2015 by

By Dominic Lawson, Mailonline: Prepare for an avalanche of stories about humanely killed pets. The reason? Next month, the Labour MP Robert Marris is introducing a Private Member’s Bill that would legalise assisted suicide. And there is no more popular argument in its favour than that such a measure would allow humans the same form of exit as is routinely given to dogs. Last week, the Mail published a particularly powerful version of this, in the form of Linda Kelsey’s article entitled ‘I wish my mum could die like my beloved dog’. She began: ‘My beloved 12-year-old Labrador, Cuba, was put peacefully to sleep two weeks ago’, and went on to describe the state of her 87-year-old mother Rhona, now suffering from both dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Some years earlier the depression-prone Rhona had, said her daughter, expressed a wish to die: ‘It breaks my heart to see her suffering, and her total dependence on the kindness of her carers.’ Who could not sympathise with Linda Kelsey, in this predicament? Why not have mum painlessly put down, as Cuba was? Read...

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Assisted suicide: Hard cases make bad law

Aug 20, 2015 by

CEN Editorial: The Christian Churches need to make the case against assisted suicide together, in the face of the growing and well intentioned movement in favour of it. Bob Cole is the latest person to use his own suicide with Dignitas as another moment in the campaign to legalise assisted suicide, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer aged 68. His reason for ending his own life was that he wanted to ‘die with dignity’. He made his own death a kind of sacrifice to help the spread of legalising what is currently illegal, and gained much sympathy and respect in doing so. His decision was in fact an act of human will over a natural development, cancer. But in rational ethical debate we need to ask the question whether this act was in fact more dignified than fighting cancer as long as possible – is such an act a kind of signal of surrender, an ending of life before it is really ended? There is at least a deep debate to be had about the best way to respond to a terminal diagnosis. In Mr Cole’s case we must note, he was capable of ending his own life without invoking the assistance of others – and that is a very important point. It is important because of the wider social implications of assisting death. The reason why it is a crime so to help someone else die is socially and legally straightforward and illustrated by the phenomenon of GP Dr Harold Shipman. He helped scores of his elderly patients die, and claimed it was in their best interests. Those patients needed the protection of the law, and future patients and even relatives likewise need such protection from the ministrations of those happy to oblige by providing death. There is just too much at stake on the wider social corporate human tapestry to legalise ‘assisting’ suicide, at least without far deeper debate. Hard cases make bad law. It is not surprising that well meaning onlookers can be swayed by hard cases, as seems to have happened with Dr George Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury. He now supports assisting suicide, and his reason is a particularly difficult case ofaparalysed, pain wracked person wanting to die and asking a friend to poison her, which she did. This was a very hard case indeed, but hard cases make bad law. Any judge would have given such a person a suspended sentence, but would have upheld the law against killing. That remains the best way for the law to handle such situations. Dr Carey has emotively decided to change his view, against scriptural warrant and against the protection of society as a whole. As the massive growth of abortion on demand shows, liberalising killing for the best possible reasons will tend to go way beyond the intent of the law makers. There is every probability that this will also happen in the case of euthanasia, and there is in truth no real need for...

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US lawmakers turn their backs on euthanasia

Aug 17, 2015 by

By Holly Hamilton-Bleakley, The Conservative Woman: MPs are due to debate an Assisted Dying Bill next month – tabled by Labour MP Rob Marris – and so we have the usual commentary in the media in the run-up to the debate.  Because here in America we have a few states which have legalised assisted dying – with Oregon and Washington being perhaps the most notable – the experiences of these states is often held up as an example of what a wonderful, compassionate, autonomous society might look like, where Free Choice and Dignity reign. Indeed, Dr Jonathan Romain, Rabbi of Maidenhead Synagogue and chairman of the group ‘Inter-Faith Leaders for Dying in Dignity’, has argued recently that he is quite happy to support the Assisted Dying bill because ‘we can see the future’ in regards to euthanasia.   ‘The Marris Bill’, he writes, ‘is exactly the same as the law in Oregon.’  Apparently the Oregon experience has been just dandy, so there’s no reason why the UK shouldn’t pass the same law. Well, hold on.  If you’re going to use Oregon as your fail-safe reason for passing the Assisted Dying Bill, allow me to offer a few reflections from this side of the pond. The Assisted Dying campaign is actually in retreat here in the US.  It’s been nearly 20 years since the Dying with Dignity Act was passed in Oregon, and there has been nothing in the Oregon experience that has inspired the rest of the country to go down the same route.  On the contrary – earlier this year, Assisted Dying Bills were rejected in the state legislatures of Connecticut, Maryland, and Colorado. These states are not known for being particularly conservative, or dominated by the Christian right.  In 2012, the state of Massachusetts – that great paragon of progressive liberalism – rejected an Assisted Dying Bill, with none other than Victoria Reggie Kennedy, widow of the late Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy, campaigning against it.  And, a few months ago, an Assisted Dying Bill was stalled in the California legislature, being placed in what is called a ‘suspense file’ – the place where Bills go to die, or significantly watered down. Read here...

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Bishop: you can give terminally ill a dignified death ‘without killing them’

Aug 17, 2015 by

by John Bingham, Telegraph: Friend of Lord Carey insists former Archbishop of Canterbury does not speak for most clerics on assisted dying. A prominent bishop has hit back at calls from the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey to legalise assisted dying, insisting it is possible to enable people to die with dignity “without killing them”. The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Rev Mike Hill, emphasised that he is a friend of the former archbishop – who has long-standing links with Bristol, reflected in his full title of Lord Carey of Clifton – but said he did not speak for the rank and file of Church of England clergy. Lord Carey and the Anglican Bishop of Buckingham, the Rt Rev Alan Wilson, were among a group of Christian and Jewish clerics who wrote to The Daily Telegraph at the weekend setting out a religious case in favour of assisted dying. The group, which also included leading rabbis from the Liberal and Reform strands of Judaism and the first female leader of the Methodist Church, Baroness Richardson, said religious teachings about the value of pain should have no place in arguments about assisted dying. Read here Read also:  Archbishops can outdo hacks in demagoguery by Alexander Boot...

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