Proponents of euthanasia in Britain are once again trying to remove legal safeguards on assisted suicide. A motion from Richard Ottoway MP, patron of Dignity in Dying (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) has re-opened the debate on euthanasia in Britain, seeking an increasing leniency towards assisted suicide.
While Mr Ottoway has made a welcome climb-down from his original stance, an amendment from Joan Ruddock MP would lead to an inflexible requirement for leniency in all cases of assisted suicide; thus making prosecuting those with genuine malicious intent difficult, and give rise to increased numbers of unchecked assisted suicides.
In resistance to Joan Ruddock’s efforts to legitimise euthanasia, a further amendment has been tabled by Fiona Bruce MP, placing the emphasis instead on palliative care and hospice provision. This encouraging move, aimed at giving real dignity and respect to dying patients, has received the support of more than 80 MPs.
Speaking from his office in the Palace of Westminster ahead of tomorrow’s debate, Lord Alton, chairman of the Cross Party Working Group on Human Dignity, told the Dignitatis Humanae Institute: “Joan Ruddock’s seemingly innocent attempt to change the law would lead to a failure to provide the sufficient safeguards required to protect the terminally ill, the elderly, and the disabled. It would amount to allowing euthanasia through the back door and is the latest attempt to impose legalised assisted suicide on Britain via indirect means.”
Two lengthy House of Lords Select Committee enquiries found such a change in the law unnecessary and potentially dangerous. Proponents of euthanasia are therefore now advocating what they themselves call “baby steps” to reach their ultimate objective.
Such tactics have great precedent in Europe, with tragic consequences for the protection of human dignity. In the United Kingdom, legalisation to legalise abortion was reserved for exceptional circumstances and yet quickly and casually became killing on industrial scale. Such a trend will inevitably occur if Britain begins to liberalise its euthanasia laws. Indeed, it is necessary only look to the Netherlands, where last year saw a 13% increase in euthanasia deaths, on top of the 10% increase the previous year.
The Dignitatis Humanae Institute gives wholehearted support to any politician who resists attempts to diminish the sanctity of life: care and kill can never be used as synonyms for compassion. We encourage all to support Fiona Bruce and her colleagues in tomorrow’s debate.