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Church of England leaders: Assisted Suicide is not just a 'moral' issue

more: Articles, Opinion, Articles/Opinion

11th February 2010

Assisted Suicide is not just a 'moral' issue

In spite of the numerous disability rights groups, medical organisations, lawyers and palliative care specialists opposing any relaxation of the current law, there is often a misconception that that the only opposing view point to the legalisation of Assisted Suicide is a 'moral' or 'religious' one. The Archbishop of Canterbury himself has now commented publically that any relaxation of the law would result in much more than a 'moral mistake':

'The Church did not assume it had a right to impose a solution on the public, but it would argue fiercely that granting a "right to die" was not only a "moral mistake" but the upsetting of a balance of freedoms."The freedom of one person to utilise in full consciousness a legal provision for assisted suicide brings with it a risk to the freedom of others not to be manipulated or harassed or simply demoralised when in a weakened condition...Once the possibility is there, it will not only be utilised by the smallish number of high-profile hard cases but will also create an ethical framework in which the worthwhileness of some lives is undermined by the legal expression of what feels like public impatience with protracted dying and 'unproductive' lives." (c)2010 Times Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved

The current law gives discretion for judges to show leniency in hard cases, while holding tough penalties in reserve in order to protect the public. The Archbishop of Canterbury holds that the current law 'served the public better than an "opening of the door" into provision for the legal ending of lives.'

Archbishop Peter Smith has also this week emphasised that we need "in particular to ensure that there is no suggestion that certain classes of people have lives that are less worth living or less deserving of the full protection of the law"

Read the full articles:
Archbishop of Canterbury, The Times, 10 February, 2010
Tough choices ahead over assisted dying, The Morning Star, 11 February 2010

Other related articles:
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali also speaks out on: Promoting life rather than death, 20 February 2010

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