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Why 'no' to assisted suicide

more: News, Opinion, News/Opinion

17th October 2016

Care Not Killing's Campaign Director, Dr Peter Saunders, was invited to write in opposition to the aims of a recently re-launched campaign group

Originally published in The Argus, following the re-branding of the Society for Old Age Rational Suicide as 'My Death, My Decision'.

CHANGING the law to allow assisted suicide or euthanasia will put pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives out of fear from becoming an emotional and financial burden, which is what we have seen in the tiny number of countries that have gone down this path.

In Belgium, which introduced a law to help terminally ill mentally competent adults, we have seen the case of Mark and Eddy Verbessem, the 45-year-old deaf identical twins, who were killed by the Belgium state, after their eyesight began to fail.

Or Nathan/Nancy Verhelst, whose life was ended in front of TV cameras, after a series of botched sex-change operations.

Or the case of Ann G, an anorexia sufferer who opted to have her life ended after being sexually abused by the psychiatrist who was supposed to be treating her for the life-threatening condition.

Now both Belgium and Holland have extended their law to include killing non-mentally competent children.

While in Oregon, suicide rates have increased dramatically since changing the law.

At the same time because of health care rationing we have seen those suffering from cancer refused potentially lifesaving and life-extending treatments, while being offered the lethal cocktails of drugs to kill themselves with.

No wonder there is not a single major doctors or disability group that supports changing the law and why last year parliaments in both Westminster and Holyrood rejected much less radical measures than those being pushed by this group.

Our current law is both clear and provides a powerful disincentive to abuse while giving discretion to prosecutors and judges in showing mercy in hard cases. It does not need changing.

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