A proposal, which would change the law governing assisted suicide in England and Whales, has Christian and pro-life groups concerned what would happen if the changes take effect.
The change was recommended in a report published in England by the Commission on Assisted Dying, which is chaired by former justice secretary Lord Charles Falconer.
The report recommends allowing doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who wish to die and have less than 12 months to live. The patient would have to be over the age of 18 and not deemed to be mentally impaired. The approval of two independent doctors would also be required.
But the report has come under quick scrutiny concerning the validity and non-impartial findings listed in the report.
In an email sent to The Christian Post, Dr. Peter Saunders, Campaign Director of Care Not Killing wrote, “This investigation was unnecessary, biased and lacking in transparency and its report is seriously flawed. It is being spun as a comprehensive, objective and independent review into this complicated issue. It is anything but.”
Saunders explains that “the overt bias in the structure of the commission is why over 40 organizations including the British Medical Association and many individuals boycotted the inquiry.”
The cause for this rebuke is the fact that nine of the 11 people on the commission support assisted suicide. Additionally, the commission was set up by the pro-euthanasia group Dignity in Dying and was funded by Terry Pratchett, an Alzheimer’s sufferer who has been outspoken in the fight for assisted suicide.
“The current law exists to protect those who are sick, elderly, depressed, or disabled from feeling obliged to end their lives. The present law protects those who have no voice against exploitation and coercion, acts as a powerful deterrent to would-be abusers and gives discretion to judges to temper justice with mercy in hard cases,” Saunders wrote.
This could also potentially have wider reaching effects here in America as well. In 1997 Oregon passed a controversial measure to allow assisted suicide called the Death with Dignity law.
It allows some terminally-ill patients to request assistance in committing suicide. By the end of 2004, 208 individuals had ended their life in Oregon with the help of lethal prescriptions.