A former head of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society in the UK has set up a secret group to subsidise travel to a Swiss suicide clinic. The group has also been providing escorts for terminally ill people and offering advice on how to arrange their deaths. According to the Telegraph newspaper, which revealed the existence of the group, named The Last Choice, or TLC, after an undercover investigation, all of these activities are clearly illegal under British law.
The organiser of the group is Dr Michael Irwin, a well-known euthanasia activist in the UK. His advice to an undercover reporter posing as the child of an elderly man was to tell the father’s GP a “white lie” to obtain his medical records. These are needed by the clinic to confirm a terminal condition. He assured the reporter that there was very little risk involved. If it came to light that someone had abetted a suicide, the government would probably turn a blind eye to the matter. “And if it ever did become a legal offence, then I think public opinion would be so dramatic that nothing further would ever happen,” he said.
It has also emerged that the suicide clinic, Dignitas, has begun to film the deaths of its clients to avoid future prosecution. This became known when an Irishman was filmed recently assenting to a lethal dose of drugs. Martin Barry was a 30-year-old Irish freelance journalist and broadcaster who announced on radio last year that he would seek the help of Dignitas to kill himself because he was suffering intolerably from multiple sclerosis. About five Irish people and 30 British have been killed by Dignitas.
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