MPs pushed to consider legalising assisted suicide

A group of MPs is set to consider removing legal protections for the vulnerable amid a push from activists to legalise assisted suicide.

In a new inquiry, the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee will hear evidence on access to palliative care, the role of medics in assisted suicide and eligibility criteria for such services.

Its chairman, Steve Brine MP, said the Committee wants to hear “from campaigners, members of the medical profession and members of the public” and would look at “the moral, ethical and practical concerns raised in a way that is informed by actual evidence”.


Brine noted that euthanasia or assisted suicide has been legalised in countries such as Canada, saying “it is time to review the actual impact of changes in the law in other countries in order to inform the debate in our own. Our inquiry will examine that evidence, hearing from all sides of the debate.”

Canada legalised euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2016, but has already scrapped the requirement for a person to be terminally ill and will extend the law to those with a mental illness from March 2023.

Roger Foley, who has been hospitalised by a debilitating condition for six years, recently told the New York Post that nurses at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, recommended he opt for Canada’s so-called Medical Assistance in Dying.

In October, the Quebec College of Physicians also informed a parliamentary review that parents should be able to arrange the deaths of babies up to one-year old who are deemed to have “severe deformations, very grave and severe syndromes” and a short life expectancy.

‘Only safeguard’

Earlier this year in Britain, the House of Lords defeated Lord Forsyth’s amendment to the Health and Care Bill that sought to allow terminally ill adults to get help from doctors to kill themselves.

This was the twelfth time since 1997 that proposals for assisted suicide related laws have not been passed by UK parliamentarians.

Welcoming the result, The Christian Institute’s Ciarán Kelly said it had averted “a real threat to the lives of vulnerable people”.

He explained: “Supporters of assisted suicide claim it can be introduced safely, but international evidence shows it is impossible to establish sufficient safeguards to protect vulnerable people once the law is liberalised. Keeping assisted suicide illegal is the only safeguard.”

Also see:


Kiwi lawmaker wants broader euthanasia laws one year after legalisation

Death pods marketed ahead of Scotland assisted suicide vote

‘Dehumanising’ assisted suicide Bill makes headway in Scottish Parliament

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