Archbishop Rowan Williams has spoken out against assisted suicide saying it is un-Christian and dangerous for society. To make his point heard, the spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican Communion drew comparisons between the legalization of abortion and the possible legalization of euthanasia.
According to The Telegraph, Williams told the General Synod earlier this week, "The default position on abortion has shifted quite clearly over the past 40 years" and he lamented the impact that has had.
Directly after abortion was legalized in the United Kingdom, abortion rates rose significantly. Abortion rates have now risen to about 200,000 a year. Williams fears a similar rise will occur in assisted dying rates if euthanasia is legalized.
He also believes a rise in euthanasia holds grave consequences, saying, "To seek a change in the default position on the sanctity of life would be a disaster."
Williams asserts that assisted suicide goes against Christian values: "We are committed as Christians to the belief that every life in every imaginable situation is infinitely precious in the sight of God. To say that there are certain conditions in which life is legally declared to be not worth living is a major shift in the moral and spiritual atmosphere in which we live."
The Archbishop's comments come on the heels of a report published by the Independent Commission on Assisted Dying. The report was in favor of assisted dying as a mercy procedure, stating, "A comparatively small number of people who are terminally ill experience a degree of suffering towards the end of their life that they consider can only be relieved either by ending their own life, or by the knowledge that they can end their life at a time of their own choosing."
Williams insisted, "We can be realistic, we can be compassionate, in the application of the existing law."