Care Not Killing is a UK-based alliance of individuals and organisations which brings together disability and human rights groups, healthcare providers, and faith-based bodies, with the aims of:

  1. promoting more and better palliative care;
  2. ensuring that existing laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide are not weakened or repealed;
  3. influencing the balance of public opinion against any further weakening of the law.

 

Our position

  • Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide or euthanasia would place pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden upon others. This would especially affect people who are disabled, elderly, sick or depressed.
  • Persistent requests for euthanasia are extremely rare if people are properly cared for so our priority must be to ensure that good care addressing people's physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs is accessible to all.
  • The present law making assisted suicide and euthanasia illegal is clear and right and 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 in hard cases.
  • Hard cases make bad law. Even in a free democratic society there are limits to human freedom and the law must not be changed to accommodate the wishes of a small number of desperate and determined people.
  • The pressure people will feel to end their lives if assisted suicide or euthanasia is legalised will 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 real and dangerous and this is why strong laws are necessary.
  • Parliament has rightly rejected the legalisation of assisted suicide and euthanasia in Britain three times since 2006 out of concern for public safety - in the House of Lords (2006 and 2009) and in Scotland (2010) - and repeated extensive enquiries have concluded that a change in the law is not necessary.
  • The number of British people travelling abroad to commit assisted suicide or euthanasia is very small (150 in ten years) compared to numbers in countries that have legalised assisted suicide or euthanasia. With an 'Oregon' law we would have 1,200 deaths a year and with a 'Dutch' law 13,000.
  • If assisted suicide or euthanasia is legalised any 'safeguards' against abuse, such as limiting it to certain categories of people, will not work. Instead, once any so-called 'right-to-die' is established we will see incremental extension with activists applying pressure to expand the categories of people who qualify for it.
  • The vast majority of UK doctors are opposed to legalising euthanasia along with the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Association for Palliative Medicine and the British Geriatric Society.
  • All major disability rights groups in Britain (including Disability Rights UK, SCOPE, UKDPC and Not Dead Yet UK) oppose any change in the law believing it will lead to increased prejudice towards them and increased pressure on them to end their lives.
  • Inappropriate media portrayal of suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia will fuel copycat suicides and suicide contagion. International media guidelines must be upheld and complied with.
  • Public opinion polls can be easily manipulated when high media profile (and often celebrity-driven) 'hard cases' are used to elicit emotional reflex responses without consideration of the strong arguments against legalisation.

For more details see our Policy Guide and FAQs.