BY SCO Admin | January 5 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

3-LORD-FALCONER

Latest call to legalise assisted suicide condemned by pro-life groups

Pro-euthanasia supporters funded report by Commission on Assisted Dying, chaired by Lord Falconer, published today

Pro-life and anti-euthanasia groups have united in their condemnation of calls for the legalisation of assisted suicide in England and Wales.

In a 400-page report published today, the Commission on Assisted Dying, chaired by Lord Falconer (above), has said that the law should change to permit assisted suicide for patients who are terminally ill and have less than a year to live.

The Falconer Report has, however, been widely criticised for its bias, while Donna Nicholson, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) Scotland, commented that ‘it is nothing more than pro-euthanasia propaganda.’

“What we are dealing with here is a report from a commission made up of and funded by pro-euthanasia supporters set up following Parliament’s repeated rejections of attempts by Lord Falconer and other pro-euthanasia politicians and campaigners to change the law,” Ms Nicholson said. “Those who head SPUC’s disability wing believe this latest report to be a renewed attack on the legal status of disabled and elderly people and yet another attempt to convince the public that many disabled people want to die, and that they are sensible to want to die.”

Ms Nicholson added that more than 40 organisations, including the British Medical association, refused to give evidence to Lord Falconer’s group.

Despite the fact that the proposed changes would only affect England and Wales, they would be likely to have an impact in Scotland as Independent MSP Margo MacDonald, who has Parkinson’s Disease, prepares her latest attempt to introduce changes to the law on assisted dying north of the Border.

Ms MacDonald was defeated in her attempt to introduce the End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill in 2010.

“I’m delighted that Lord Falconer has brought this into the public arena for further investigation, as it’s an issue that’s not going to go away,” Ms MacDonald said.

The Lord Falconer Report, financed by the author Sir Terry Pratchett, who has Alzheimer’s, recommends that patients who are terminally ill and have less than a year to live should be allowed to request a lethal dose of drugs from their doctor, which they would take themselves.

Dr Peter Saunders of the Care Not Killing group said that a law allowing assisted suicide, ‘especially at a time of economic recession, when many families are feeling financial pressure and health budgets are being cut,’ is ‘the very last thing we need.’

“This would place pressure on elderly, sick and disabled people to end their lives, for fear of being an emotional or financial burden or exhausting an inheritance, and would be a recipe for abuse and exploitation for those with an interest in their deaths,” Dr Saunders said.

—martin@sconews.co.uk

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