Peers have spoken out against legalising assisted suicide, ahead of an upcoming Bill in the House of Commons.
Writing for The Huffington Post, former palliative care specialist Baroness Finlay warned that assisted suicide could be extended beyond the terminally ill.
She said that the current law, “rests on the principle that we do not involve ourselves in deliberately bringing about the deaths of other people”.
“Once exceptions are made to that principle on arbitrary grounds like terminal illness, the frontier becomes just a line in the sand, easily crossed and hard to defend against encroachment”, she added.
Fellow Peer Lord Farmer highlighted that national prevention strategies help to ensure that doctors are compassionate towards suicidal people.
Writing for PoliticsHome, he said that assisted suicide should remain illegal.
Unnecessary and unsafe
He said that efforts should instead focus on, “ensuring those who are dying are able to get support around the clock and do not suffer as a result of poor services, and carers know how to confidently manage medication and when to call for help”.
Director of think-tank Living and Dying Well Agnes Fletcher, who is also disabled, warned in a letter to The Guardian that changing the law is unnecessary and unsafe.
“Those specialising in the care of dying people are almost unanimously opposed. Many disabled people fear that if terminally ill people are encouraged and assisted to commit suicide by a change in the law, they would be next”, she said.
Labour MP Rob Marris’ assisted suicide Bill will be debated in the House of Commons on 11 September.