Saturday, July 19, 2014

The debate goes on

After almost 10 hours of impassioned debate, Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying bill passed its second reading in the House of Lords without a vote, which enables it to have further consideration by a full committee of the House. Assisted suicide, of course, is still not legal. It would need a further debate and a successful vote, and would then need to go to the House of Commons.

More than 20 faith leaders - Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist, United Reform, Pentecostal, Baptist, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh and Zoroastrian - signed an open letter against assisted suicide.

"Vulnerable individuals," they said, "must be cared for and protected even if this calls for sacrifice on the part of others. Each year many thousands of elderly and vulnerable people suffer abuse, sadly, often at the hands of their families or carers. 

"Being perceived as a burden or as a financial drain is a terrible affliction to bear, leading in many cases to passivity, depression and self-loathing. The desire to end one's ;life may, at any stage of life, be prompted by depression or external pressure; any suggestion of a presumption that such a decision is 'rational' does not do justice to the facts. 

"The Assisted Dying Bill can only add to the pressures that many vulnerable, terminally ill people will feel, placing them at increased risk of distress and coercion at a time when they most need love and support."

The Bible forbids the taking of innocent human life. The majority of doctors are opposed to assisted suicide. The majority of organisations supporting the disabled are against it.

The pro-euthanasia lobby has made progress with talk of "compassion," "ending suffering" and."freedom of choice." We are living in a society which is increasingly less motivated by the facts, even where they recognise they exist, and increasingly influenced by feelings. Therein lies the danger.

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