Call for assisted suicide in UK criticised by pro-life group

A pro-life campaigner has hit out at new calls for assisted suicide to become legal in the UK.

The widow of a man who travelled to Swiss suicide facility Dignitas after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease has been agitating for the law to be changed.

Sarah Starkey has released a video diary by her late husband, Andrew Tyler, recorded in the months before he was helped to commit suicide.


In the video, Tyler puts forward his views on legalising assisted suicide, saying he has “no future that amounts to anything pleasurable”.

The video featured in news bulletins by BBC South East Today and BBC Radio Kent’s breakfast programme, which also included a lengthy interview with Sarah Starkey.

Speaking out against a change in the law, Care Not Killing spokesman Alistair Thompson said current legislation exists for “safeguarding purposes”.

Palliative care

He told BBC Radio Kent: “It exists to prevent people who feel that they have become a care burden or a financial burden on their loved ones from ending their lives.”

Thompson added that the “problem we have in this country is not everybody has universal access to the best-quality palliative medicine”.

“We have the best doctors in the world, we have a great care system but it doesn’t always reach everybody.”

“What we should be doing is making sure that everybody has access to the best possible care”, he said.

Parliament opposed

Parliamentarians across the UK have overwhelmingly resisted a change in the law on assisted suicide in recent years.

In September 2015, Westminster politicians voted 330 to 118 against a Private Members’ Bill by Labour MP Rob Marris.

The vote followed a similar result in the Scottish Parliament in May 2015, when MSPs voted by 82 votes to 36 against the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill.

Ahead of both votes, serious concerns were raised that legalising assisted suicide would pressurise the sick, elderly and vulnerable into ending their lives for fear of being a burden. Many opponents also pointed to the incremental extension of the practice in Europe, and the absence of genuine safeguards.

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