Speakers' Corner Trust Debate: current laws protect, with 'mercy and compassion'
2nd November 2012
CNK Campaign Director asserts that 'our current law... combines strong deterrence [against abuse] with discretion, mercy and compassion' in a Speakers' Corner Trust debate on assisted suicide with Dignity in Dying's Sarah Wootton.
Dr Peter Saunders highlighted the fact that the vast majority of medical professionals and disability rights groups are overwhelmingly opposed to any change in the law regarding assisted suicide, an acknowledgement of the threat to public safety posed by legal changes as adopted in other countries. He drew attention to the 70% of disabled people who fear that any change in the law would threaten them- especially considering that successive sittings of Parliament and other British legislatures have rejected proposed safeguards. He put it to the Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) that with the right palliative care in place, sustained calls from individuals for assisted suicide are rare and that the current law offers protection for vulnerable people whilst granting discretion to judges and prosecutors to act with 'mercy and compassion' toward offenders.