Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Assisted suicide is a public safety issue

A letter in the London Timesonline by Edward Davies in the UK got the issue correct. Davies is commenting on Lord Joffe's statement that being opposed to assisted suicide is based on faith. Since Lord Joffe is unable to defend his position, instead he attempts to claim that the issue is religious rather than debate the issue for what it really is: A public safety issue.

The letter stated:
Sir, Lord Joffe broadly paints the assisted dying debate as one of faith: those with a faith are anti-assisted dying, those without a faith are pro, give or take a few at the margins (“Most opponents of assisted suicide are in a minority driven by faith”, Thunderer, Dec 16).

It is not a Catholic foundation that has driven the British Medical Association to oppose assisted dying, as mentioned in your report (“MPs back doctors’ right to help their patients die”, Dec 16). The Royal College of General Practitioners does not oppose a change in the law because of fundamental Islamic beliefs. And the Royal College of Nursing did not move to a neutral position earlier this year on account of a crisis of faith.

Assisted dying is a patient safety issue, not a religious one. I find it staggeringly naive and deeply worrying that the peer at the very heart of this debate could write an article that does not even acknowledge this, choosing instead to focus on people “encouraged by their religious leaders”. Is this the level of debate on which laws are now made?

Edward Davies
London SW18
Link to the letter: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article6959330.ece

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