A disabled Peer fears she is already “on the list” of those likely to be offered assisted suicide in the future, as Parliament is set to debate Lord Falconer’s controversial Bill later this year.
Baroness Campbell, who is a wheelchair user and has a degenerative genetic disease, warned against the “elasticity” of Belgium’s euthanasia law, “that no one could have imagined a few years ago”.
She highlighted a report from Lord Falconer published in January 2012, which said assisted suicide should not be offered to disabled people “at this point in time”.
“This sent a shiver down my spine”, Baroness Campbell commented.
“At the moment they say they want assisted suicide for people who are terminally ill, but for how long will that last, and who decides what is terminal? If terminal illness, why not chronic and progressive conditions?
“And, if chronic and progressive conditions, why not seriously disabled people?
“I am already on the list”, she said.
Baroness Campbell questioned whether the UK really wants to be considering assisted suicide for children in ten years time, a route which Belgium has gone down.
Belgium legalised euthanasia in 2002, and earlier this month the King signed into law a Bill extending the practice to children who are terminally ill.
“The existing law on assisted suicide rests on a natural frontier”, Baroness Campbell explained.
“It rests on the principle that we do not involve ourselves in deliberately bringing about the deaths of other people.
“What the proponents of ‘assisted dying’ want is to replace that clear and bright line with an arbitrary and permeable one”, she added.
Lord Falconer’s assisted suicide Bill, which is expected to be re-tabled in the House of Lords later this year, would allow doctors to help people who have less than six months to live to kill themselves.
Earlier this month, the minister responsible for care for elderly and disabled people, Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb, said he would vote in favour of the Bill.
He told Sky News he feels the current system is “cruel” to people who want to assist in the suicide of a loved one without fear of prosecution.