October 1, 2022

Top UK public servant questions ban on assisted suicide

Is this a straw in the wind for the assisted suicide and euthanasia debate in the UK? A leading public servant, the head of the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority of the National Health Service, has declared that laws banning assisted suicide are not fit for the 21st century.

Is this a straw in the wind for the
assisted suicide and euthanasia debate in the UK? A leading public servant, the
head of the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority of the National Health
Service, has declared that laws banning assisted suicide are not fit for the
21st century.

Pauline Smith told an inquiry organised by
the British think tank Demos:

“Our view is that the current law does not match the requirements of the
21st century. We really do need to look at a system that allows public and patient
choice in ways that the law does not allow. At the moment we have a situation
where only some people can make that choice. If you can afford to go to
Switzerland that’s fine but if you can’t, you are stuck with a system that
doesn’t really allow you to talk about it, never mind have access to it.”

She also asserted that
her unit was “neither for nor against assisted
suicide”.

However, as a counterweight to Mrs Smith’s
remarks, Professor Tim Maughan, an oncologist, rejected the notion of legalized
assisted suicide because patients can change their mind or feel pressured by
relatives. “I think the current law has got it right,” he said. “There are
principles behind it which are very sound. Doctors should not kill their
patients. The vulnerable should be protected.”

Despite the official sound of its title,
the Commission on Assisted
Dying
is a private initiative from a doughty assisted suicide supporter,
Lord Falconer. However, a number of interesting people are giving “testimony”
at a series of hearings. Check out its website for transcripts and video. ~ London
Telegraph, Feb 24



Michael Cook
assisted suicide
euthanasia
UK