The objectivity of the so-called “independent commission on assisted dying” has always been in doubt. On November 30th 2011 it was revealed that nine of the twelve Falconer commissioners were well-known names in the movement to legalise assisted suicide . The commission is the brainchild of the campaign group 'Dignity in Dying' (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) and is funded by their patron, the novelist Terry Pratchett.
For this reason the Falconer commission was boycotted by many of the organisations who want to protect the vulnerable, disabled and elderly from feeling that they are a burden on society and that their lives are less worthwhile than other people’s. Notably these include the BMA, and the major disability rights organisations RADAR, UKDPC, NCIL, SCOPE and Not Dead Yet. Consequently, it is no surprise that the commission has found an overwhelmingly positive response to its questions. The verdict was entirely predictable because the jury was fixed.
The reality is that the disabled are overwhelmingly against any change in the laws which at present protect them. Many legislatures have rejected such propositions, because the more closely people study the subject, the more they see the dangers. In his submission to the commission, Peter Bailey, disabled for 35 years following an accident and a trustee of Leonard Cheshire Disability, expressed this clearly:
“Why is it that suicidal tendencies in non-disabled people trigger the possibility of being sectioned for your own good, but when we look at disabled people it’s somehow expected and understood that you might want to kill yourself?”
In every country where assisted suicide is legal there have been abuses, and its legalisation would put all vulnerable people in the UK at risk. The moment we start judging the value of other people’s lives, we stop making their protection and quality of life our priority.
For media enquiries, please contact Dominica Roberts on 01344 422902 or 079 037 69314.
For a more detailed discussion of the Falconer Commission click here.