Calls for better palliative care as parliament considers assisted suicide bill

(Photo: Unsplash / Eva Dang)

Another bill to legalize assisted suicide got its first reading in parliament this week.

The bill says that assisted suicide should be made legal for those who are suffering “intolerable suffering” from a terminal illness and who have less than six months to live.

Opponents of the bill accused supporters of spreading “propaganda”.

The Care Not Killing coalition warned that “scores of vulnerable people will fall victim to a law that fatally discriminates against them.”

“The bill seeks to make it legal for physicians to help terminally ill patients commit suicide. But by striking down the current law, the bill would remove the only real safeguard against abuse and make vulnerable people feel pressured to commit suicide ”. It said.

“And the bill ignores the remarkable progress that has been made in relieving pain in terminally ill patients, or the fact that palliative care in the UK is among the best in the world.”

Write in The telegraphBaroness Campbell said the best way to support the terminally ill is to better invest in palliative care and address the social care crisis.

“Despite what the propaganda says, the majority of the people she is supposed to help have not asked for and want it. In fact, we fear any change in the law that would weaken the protection we now rely on. , ” she said.

Under UK law, aiding someone to commit suicide is a felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Many Britons got around this problem by going to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.

Besides Switzerland, assisted suicide is already legal in Belgium and the Netherlands, where critics warn the laws have only expanded far beyond their original jurisdiction to include people with disabilities. mental health. Both countries allow the euthanasia of minors.

Last year, Dutch MP Pia Dijkstra called for the law to be further amended so that euthanasia is available to healthy over 75s who are weary of life.

Spain has become the last European country to legalize euthanasia. Laws passed in March allow it for people with serious and incurable or debilitating illnesses.

About Norman Griggs

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