September 27, 2022

Lord Falconer’s assisted suicide bill under attack

Criticism of Lord Falconer’s assisted suicide bill is mounting as the proposed legislation returns to the House of Lords. Public figures are arguing that it would put elderly citizens at risk and may escalate to a Netherlands-style euthanasia epidemic.

Criticism of Lord Falconer’s assisted suicide bill is mounting as the proposed legislation returns to the House of Lords. Various public figures have spoken out against the bill, arguing that it would put elderly citizens at risk and may escalate to a Netherlands-style euthanasia epidemic.

Professor Theo Boer, University of Utrecht bioethicist and member of a review committee monitoring euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands, warned the UK parliament on Wednesday about legalising the procedure.

Professor Boer recounted how euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands have doubled in the past six years, and may reach a record 6000 in the year 2014.

Boer is concerned that, as in the Netherlands, the law will be manipulated and existential suffering will become a common reason for AS:

‘Cases have been reported in which a large part of the suffering of those given euthanasia or assisted suicide consisted in being aged, lonely or bereaved. 

“Some of these patients could have lived for years or decades. Pressure on doctors to conform to patients’ – or in some cases relatives’ – wishes can be intense.” “Don’t do it”, professor Boer tersely stated.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby published an article in the Times on Saturday expressing his opposition to the bill. He warned that the legislation could be abused and elderly pressured into taking their own lives.

“Abuse, coercion and intimidation can be slow instruments in the hands of the unscrupulous, creating pressure on vulnerable people who are encouraged to “do the decent thing”.

He continued,

“Even where such pressure is not overt, the very presence of a law that permits assisted suicide on the terms proposed by Lord Falconer of Thoroton is bound to lead to sensitive individuals feeling that they ought to stop ‘being a burden to others’”. 

Lord Falconers assisted suicide bill criticised as it heads to the house of lords
Xavier Symons
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Creative commons
assisted suicide
UK