From the United Kingdom comes the strong and clear voice of some Catholic, Anglican and Jewish leaders, who have united to oppose the assisted suicide law.
The Suicide Act of 1961 establishes criminal liability for complicity in the suicide of others if an act is carried out to encourage or assist in the suicide or attempted suicide of another person.
Now, the Assisted Dying Bill, sponsored by Baroness Meacher, president of Dignity in Dying, would allow terminally ill adults to receive, at their request, specific assistance to end their lives, thus allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs.
This was the speech by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, by Anglican leader Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who spoke in the Second Reading debate of the Bill in the House of Lords:
“We are conscious of the risks and dangers entailed in the provisions of the Bill and the ‘real-life’ practical inadequacies of the proposed safeguards”
“By the faiths we profess, we hold every human life to be a precious gift of the Creator, to be upheld and protected.
All people of faith, and those of none, can share our concern that the common good is not served by policies or actions that would place very many vulnerable people in more vulnerable positions”. They continued: “We appeal to people of whatever faith or belief to join us through our common bond of humanity in caring for the most vulnerable people within our society”.
“In contrast to the proposals in this Bill, we continue to call for measures to make high-quality palliative care available to all at the end of their lives.”
“We believe that the aim of a compassionate society should be assisted living rather than an acceptance of assisted suicide.”
Opponents of the bill include nearly 1,700 doctors who wrote an open letter to Sajid Javid, UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs, warning him that the bill would effectively turn doctors into murderers and that it would be impossible for any government to draft assisted suicide laws that include legal protection from the future extension and expansion of such laws.
The Bill would undermine public trust in doctors and send a clear message to frail, elderly and disabled patients about the value society places on them as people and they added: “We would not take patients’ lives – even if they asked us to – but for the sake of us all, and for future generations, we ask that the law remains unchanged”.
“As we know, even in Italy there is a great risk that assisted suicide will be legalised. Offering dignity to a sick person even in the terminal phase of life does not mean giving him death as the only way out. For years, palliative care has eliminated the pain of patients suffering from serious diseases. We need a Health Service that is able to guarantee adequate care by applying Law 38/2010, or palliative care “intended for a fragile patient or suffering from an incurable and chronic disease”, as stated in the final document 10/04/19 of the investigation of the XII Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, approved unanimously. This is what it takes and Steadfast has strongly affirmed it for years. After the battles we have undertaken for the little Charlie, Isaiah and Alfie, as for the other 24 cases followed, we reiterate that the way forward is that of care, assistance and not that of death », affirms our president Emmanuele Di Leo.