No–one should be under any illusion about what lies behind this latest proposed Bill by Lord Joffe. It is the first step in a concerted campaign to legalise euthanasia. A law which allows doctors to help patients kill themselves is only a short step away from a law allowing doctors to kill them.
There will be many of all faiths and none who recoil in disbelief at the idea of our society legislating to allow killing on the NHS – whether the killing is self-administered or done by a doctor. There is no doubt the impact such a law would have on vulnerable sick and elderly people, at a time of increased financial pressure on healthcare resources.
What we need is more and better palliative care. Terminally ill people need to be cared for properly, safe in the knowledge that their lives are of value, and that society does not wish them dead. They need to be cared for, not killed off.
Archbishop Peter Smith
9 November 2005