Assisted suicide is not healthcare but an “execution” of those deemed not worthy to live, a Conservative MP has warned.
In the Channel 4 programme ‘Prue and Danny’s Death Road Trip’, Danny Kruger MP and his mother Dame Prue Leith visit Canada and US states which have removed legal protections for the vulnerable and debate whether Britain should listen to their warnings.
Kruger, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dying Well, highlighted that it is impossible to introduce assisted suicide safely. He said when you permit doctors “to decide that some people are better off dead, you will inevitably end up expanding the criteria” to access it.
Canada legalised euthanasia in 2016, but has already scrapped the requirement for a person to be terminally ill and has only paused plans to expand it to those with mental health issues for another year following a backlash.
Kruger said: “You can dress it up by talking about doctors and syringes, but it is a deliberate decision to end a life. It’s a very, very sinister scenario in which there is a cadre of state employees who decide who should live and who should die.”
He warned that if assisted suicide is viewed as “the answer to a lack of resources” then people will be “killed by the state because the state won’t give them a wheelchair or modifications to their home. If the argument is to do it this way, then that is the real slippery slope towards an absolutely apocalyptic scenario.”
You can dress it up by talking about doctors and syringes, but it is a deliberate decision to end a life.
Great British Bake Off judge Dame Prue, who is a patron of Dignity in Dying (formerly known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society), claimed that assisted suicide is necessary for those like her brother who suffered from “unbearable pain” before he died.
But Kruger said: “Too many people die like that, and they shouldn’t. They should be dying with proper care. My uncle’s death is an argument for improving palliative care, not for euthanasia. It shouldn’t have been like that.”
an argument for improving palliative care, not for euthanasia
He warned that if assisted suicide was legalised, “many” vulnerable people would feel pressured to end their lives for fear of being an “expensive burden – whether that’s on their family or the healthcare system”.
Earlier this month, a survey revealed that three quarters of palliative care doctors in Scotland would refuse to participate in any part of the assisted suicide process if it was legalised.
The poll, conducted last year by the Association for Palliative Medicine of Great Britain and Ireland, found that 95 per cent of respondents would not prescribe drugs for an assisted suicide. More than seven in ten (71 per cent) said they would consider resigning if their organisation implemented such programmes.
A Bill to remove protections for vulnerable people is set to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament in the coming months, and Westminster’s Health and Social Care Select Committee is currently holding an inquiry into assisted suicide. Public consultations have also recently been conducted in Jersey and the Isle of Man.