Monday, June 24, 2024
HomeLaura PerrinsLaura Perrins: Time for straight-talking about the Falconer Bill. It is assisted...

Laura Perrins: Time for straight-talking about the Falconer Bill. It is assisted suicide plain and simple


I have noticed that the assisted suicide lobby like to use euphemisms. It makes their case sound nicer. The fact that they do not have the guts to advocate for assisted suicide, which is what they want, and instead “assisted dying” should trigger alarm bells.

1)  Let’s start with the Bill itself. It is called the Assisted Dying Bill. In reality however it is assisted suicide, which remains illegal. Hence the need for the Act to make something that is a criminal offence no longer a criminal offence.

2)  This Act only “clarifies the law.” See point one. We rarely need an Act of Parliament to clarify the law. The courts can clarify the law. This is a fundamental change in the law that would permit doctors to aid another to commit suicide. It is major change to law, medical ethics and morality.

3)  Some say, who are you to deny me the right to dignified death? First, it is suicide. So let’s call it that – even though it might not sound as nice. Second I am not “denying you that right.” What I oppose is the demand to turn doctors into assisted killers.

Who are you to turn our doctors into assisted killers?

4)  Everyone has a “right to commit suicide”. I saw this on a solicitor’s website. This is a classic example of the extreme end of the rights culture.

Suicide was decriminalised some time ago, as it was seen as pointless to try and prosecute a successful suicide and cruel to prosecute a failed attempted suicide. It was also seen as unnecessary to add to the suffering of the family.

However just because something is not a criminal offence does not mean you have a “right to do it.” Just because adultery is not a criminal offence does not earn you the ‘right’ guaranteed by the State to have an  affair with your neighbour’s spouse.

5)  Denying people a ‘dignified death’ lacks compassion.

First, there is nothing undignified in suffering. I am not saying it is something we should welcome, I know I certainly would not, but nor do I think that we should condemn people who are suffering or dependent on others for care, including intimate care, as “undignified.” I find this deeply insulting. There is always, always an inherent dignity to each human person.

Further it is at least debatable as to whether committing suicide is dignified. If a teenager did it, we would not celebrate their choice of committing suicide as “dignified”.

6)  There will be safeguards in the Act as two doctors have to agree that the patient has six months to live. Sure, because the two doctor rule works really well with the Abortion Act.

7)  It is cruel to condemn people to suffer. It is cruel to advocate suicide, even assisted suicide, over care. It would be one thing if this debate were taking place at a time when the care given to the sick, elderly and dying in the NHS was impeccable and beyond reproach. But it is not, as the Mid-Staffordshire and Liverpool Care Pathway scandals have demonstrated.

Surely we should focus on ensuring people are given top quality care including palliative care instead of nudging them towards suicide.

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