Concern over assisted suicide commission

A commission, which will tomorrow begin investigating the law on assisted suicide, is not ‘independent’, critics have said.

The Commission on Assisted Dying is backed by a pro-euthanasia group and will be chaired by a Peer who has previously tried to weaken the law on assisted suicide.

Think-tank Demos, which is hosting the launch, claims the commission will act “entirely independently”.


But Baroness Campbell, a leading advocate for disability rights, is among critics who have raised questions about the commission.

Baroness Campbell said: “Demos may make all the claims of independence it likes, but if the commissioners and funders are heavily weighted towards those who support assisted suicide then the manner with which they will look at the evidence will be seen through this prism”, according to a disability news website.

At present not all of the members of the commission have been made known.


Lord Falconer will head the commission. He has previously attempted to weaken the law on assisted suicide.

The Commission has received support from Dignity in Dying, a pro-euthanasia group, and Sir Terry Pratchett, who is a pro-euthanasia campaigner.

Commentator George Pitcher called the commission a “mischievous and cynical attempt to re-write a proper House of Lords inquiry that exposed all the flaws and dangers of assisted-suicide legislation in 2004-05″.


Baroness Finlay, an end of life expert, warned: “If you as a patient say, ‘I want to die,’ at the time you may be completely serious about it. But we know from the hundreds of patients we have these conversations with that peoples’ wishes fluctuate.”

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