Sunday, January 26, 2020

Care Not Killing responds to latest call for assisted suicide and euthanasia inquiry

Last week the UK parliament debated a motion to hold an assisted death inquiry. Care Not Killing sent out this media release concerning the call for an inquiry.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Care Not Killing has responded to the latest call for an inquiry into assisted suicide and euthanasia made in today’s Sunday Express by saying it not necessary or wanted.

Dr Gordon Macdonald, Chief Executive of Care Not Killing, commented: “The inquiry being called for is not necessary, or wanted as MPs, MSPs, Peers, Judges and other elected officials have reviewed, voted on and reviewed the laws more than 30 times since 2003.

Dr. Gordon Macdonald
On every occasion, they have rejected ripping up long held universal protections, that prevents the terminally ill and disabled people being treated in law because of their physical condition.

“Indeed this was recognised by Chris Philip MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice who told the House of Commons last week: ‘A number of members have raised the question of a review or a call for evidence. The Government does not have any plans at the moment to initiate any review or any call for evidence because the view being that it is for Parliament to act in this space…it is the position of the Government that it is for Parliament to decide this great issue of conscience. It is not for the Government to lead in this area’.

“Members of Parliament and elected officials on the Isle of Man who debated this issue just last week acknowledged evidence from around the world shows that removing these protections puts vulnerable people at risk of abuse and of coming under pressure, real or perceived, to end their lives prematurely.

“This evidence includes a report from the US National Council on Disability, which made for chill reading. It concluded in were small number of US states that have legalised assisted suicide safeguards were ineffective and oversight of abuse and mistakes was absent

“They also noted the problems in Canada which changed their law in 2016 to allow terminally ill people to request assisted suicide and euthanasia. Since then an estimated 13,000 people have been euthanised or helped to take their own life.

“Parliamentarians saw how laws can quickly be changed by the Courts. In September, the Quebec Superior Court struck down the requirement that a person be terminally ill before they qualify for euthanasia in Canada. It is unclear how far this extension goes, however we have already seen a depressed but otherwise healthy 61-year-old man, given a lethal injection. Alan Nichols, a former school caretaker, who had struggled with mental health problems for many years was admitted to Chilliwack General Hospital and euthanised despite not being terminally ill.

“No wonder not a single doctors group or major disability rights organisation in the UK supports changing the law, including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Physicians, the British Geriatric Society and the Association for Palliative Medicine.

“The current laws prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia provide a safeguard against abuse and exploitation and do not need changing. They do not need changing.”

For media inquiries, please contact Alistair Thompson on 07970 162225.


Editors Notes

Care Not Killing is a UK-based alliance bringing together over 40 organisations - human rights and disability rights organisations, health care and palliative care groups, faith-based organisations groups - and thousands of concerned individuals.

We have three key aims:
  • to promote more and better palliative care;
  • to ensure that existing laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide are not weakened or repealed; 
  • to inform public opinion further against any weakening of the law. 
We seek to attract the broadest support among health care professionals, allied health services and others opposed to euthanasia by campaigning on the basis of powerful arguments underpinned by the latest, well-researched and credible evidence.

*As this story is dealing with suicide, please could we ask that you include details about organisations that offer help and support to vulnerable people who might be feeling suicidal such as the Samaritans, CALM or similar organizations.

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