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Lord Falconer’s Commission on Assisted Dying

Last year, assisted dying campaigners asked for a Royal Commission on assisted suicide and were turned down because a House of Lords committee and the Scottish Parliament had recently considered the subject in depth and had rejected attempts to weaken the law.

The same campaigners, using money from supporters including Terry Pratchett, to set up a private consultation headed by Lord Falconer, a known supporter of assisted dying. Although doctors and groups representing the disabled are overwhelmingly opposed to assisted dying, the members include an individual doctor and disabled person who are known to be in favour.

The Prolife Alliance, together with many other reputable organisations and experts, does not intend to take part in this charade. Please see attached link to Dr Peter Saunders‘ blog in which he goes into some detail regarding the format of the commission.

If tobacco manufacturers paid for a “commission” composed of smokers and people who advertised cigarettes or had tried to encourage smoking, would anyone think it possible that, whatever evidence was presented, there would be any chance of them recommending a smoking ban? We would laugh if they called themselves “an independent body” and boasted “an open mind”. If, in addition, a genuine Royal Commission, a Parliamentary Committee, and searching debates in UK legislative bodies had recently examined the subject in depth and decided against them, we would think their attempt impertinent as well as unnecessary. But this is just what Lord Falconer’s so-called Commission on Assisted Dying has done.

Even the name betrays their bias. They intend to discuss suicide and euthanasia, and are using a euphemism for intentional killing.

Above all, it is NOT good, as they allege, to keep talking about it. The constant suggestion frightens the vulnerable. Recent research by the disability group Scope, not a pro-life organisation, found that 77% of disabled people aged 18-24 and 71% of disabled people aged 25-34 are “concerned about pressure being placed on other disabled people to end their lives prematurely ….. if there were a change in the law on assisted suicide” and many were afraid for themselves.

Dignity in Dying, which used to be called the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, has launched a new website and “helpline” called “Compassion in Dying” to “make sure that people … can easily access information about their rights and choices for care and treatment at the end of life”. It is illegal to encourage suicide, while genuine care and treatment are given by palliative care doctors and hospice workers, who are strongly against a change in the law. The pro-euthanasiasts who are so determined to be in control of their own lives and deaths, do not seem very compassionate regarding the feelings of the disabled and chronically ill.