A pro-life group has spoken out after activists campaigning for assisted suicide used the rebranding of their group to lobby for legal protections to be removed from vulnerable people.
The Society for Old Age Rational Suicide changed its name to My Death My Decision (MDMD) and called for adults who feel they have a ‘low quality’ of life to be able to be legally killed.
Dr Peter Saunders, of Care Not Killing, responded: “Changing the law to allow assisted suicide or euthanasia will put pressure on vulnerable people to end their lives out of fear from becoming an emotional and financial burden.”
Palliative care consultant Baroness Finlay said: “This group’s objectives reveal a far wider expectation for assisted suicide than previously proposed, illustrating the drift to which such legislation is vulnerable.”
MDMD state that their main objective is “to campaign for a change in the law in the UK to allow medical assistance to die to be given to mentally competent adults with incurable health problems that result in their perceived quality of life falling permanently below the level they are willing to accept”.
The group’s website criticises another pro-assisted suicide organisation, Dignity in Dying, formerly known as Voluntary Euthanasia Society, for not being broad enough in their stance on who should be able to request euthanasia.
Pressure on vulnerable
Last year, an assisted suicide Bill was rejected by MPs in the House of Commons by 330 votes to 118.
The result came following pressure from disabled rights groups, the medical profession, a number of charities and religious leaders.
Serious concerns had been raised that legalising assisted suicide would pressurise the sick, elderly and vulnerable into ending their lives for fear of being a burden.
Many have also expressed concern about the incremental extension of the practice in Belgium, and the absence of genuine safeguards.
On 19 August 2016, The Times reported that ‘euthanasia tourists’ are going to Belgium, where there are no age restrictions for euthanasia, to end their lives.
A 17-year-old recently became the world’s first child to be legally euthanised in the country in what was slammed as “a truly shocking case”.