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Will Government Insist on Passing More Poor Law?

With the second reading of the “End of Life Choice Bill” today, the public are left wondering if all the effort to make a submission to the Select Committee was worth it. Of the 38,000 submissions, 91.8 per cent are opposed, and 93.5 per cent of medical practitioners are against the law.

While we understand the reasoning behind the Bill, it qualifies as poor law. It blurs the lines between what is legal and what is illegal.

Currently it is illegal to assist or support someone committing suicide. Period.

This provides a clear message that ending your life is not supported, endorsed, or by implication, accepted by society. We are ashamed of the suicide rate amongst our young people, and rightly so.

Under this bill exceptions are made, and therein lies the problem. Once you make one exception you will always be asked to make more. Ask any parent of teenagers.

The value of human life will become a legal debate, rather than an undisputed founding principle of society.

Internationally the expanding requirement for exceptions is occurring, with assisted suicide now available for young people in Belgium, and suicide being requested for persons suffering depression.

Medical practitioners don’t want it as they are committed to saving lives. Disability groups don’t want it as those they represent are most at risk from abuse. Hospice nurses don’t want it as they witness the special time that is created while they support families through the final stages of their loved ones' lives.

We sympathise with those who have a terminal prognosis and who no longer wish to live, and would encourage investment in medical research, palliative care and support services. The potential cost of assisted suicide to the elderly, the disabled, and the vulnerable, means that this law will have a net negative impact. Probably the biggest negative impact is saying to people that it is OK to opt out of life.

The End of Life Choice Bill is also the End of Choices Bill, as there is no second chance with death.

“We ask our elected representatives to listen to the submissions and reject this bill as poor law,” says Leighton Baker, New Conservative Leader.

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