‘Right-to-die’ language is really about wanting a ‘right to be killed’, says former GP

A former GP has criticised the pro-euthanasia movement for using “misleading language”.

Frank Wilson made the comments in an article for The Scotsman newspaper, where he wrote: “The right-to-die movement uses misleading language to sanitise what is being campaigned for, most notably the euphemistic ‘right-to-die’.

He added the debate “is about whether or not we have a right to be killed. Suicide is a tragedy and we try to prevent it”.

Palliative care

Wilson, who is also a Roman Catholic chaplain, questioned why society has come to accept suicide as “a reasonable answer to living with a serious disability”.

He asks: “What is the more compassionate response? Elimination of the most vulnerable members of society or strengthening palliative care?”

Wilson also highlighted comments made by Baroness Warnock, who has previously said that that elderly people suffering from dementia were “wasting people’s lives”, “wasting the resources of the National Health Service” and should feel pressured to die.

‘Horrible reality’

“Whereas considerable attention is given to the desire to end life at the time of one’s choosing, less is said about those who fear that the legalisation of assisted suicide will contribute to a climate in which many may feel obliged to ‘opt out’,” Wilson wrote.

The former GP went on to point out the recent case of a Dutch doctor who was found by a medical committee not to have broken any laws after euthanising a dementia sufferer against her will.

Official documentation shows that the woman who was killed said several times in the days before she was given a lethal injection that she did not want to die.

“The ‘slippery slope’ is a horrible reality in countries which have introduced euthanasia. There is an uneasy connection between a supposed ‘right’ to die and a duty to die,” he wrote.

UK vote

Assisted suicide remains illegal in the UK.

Under the law in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a person who intentionally encourages or assists the suicide or attempted suicide of another person, commits an offence which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

A Bill to legalise assisted suicide was soundly defeated in the House of Commons in 2015 by 330 votes to 118.