Archbishop Peter Smith has made a comment on the announcement that the former lord chancellor, Charles Falconer, has introduced a draft Assisted Dying Bill open for consultation until 20 November 2012.
“Few will be surprised to see yet another attempt by Lord Falconer and others to promote the legalisation of assisted suicide. This is merely the latest in a line of similar proposals that have been debated and repeatedly defeated in Parliament over the last 5 years. What is more, only last week the BMA re-affirmed its opposition to any change in the law.
The existing law serves a vital purpose in upholding the human dignity of all and gives protection to the most vulnerable members of society. Far from prematurely ending a person’s life, what is needed for those with terminal illnesses is a properly funded and universally accessible palliative care service. In helping the terminally ill to face their fears with tireless and dedicated support, and by relieving their pain and suffering, palliative care workers are integral to respecting and securing the dignity of those nearing life’s end. They bring relief, comfort, and companionship to those patients and families who are coming to terms with the inevitable grief and distress which surrounds dying.”