Lord Falconer’s Commission on Assisted Dying reported on 5 January 2012 predictably recommending a change in the law to recommend assisted suicide (and not euthanasia) for mentally competent adults with less than twelve months to live. CNK played a prominent role in discrediting the Commission with 40 media interviews. CNK has also created four videos about the Commission here.
MPs debate Care for the Dying
David Burrowes MP headed up a Westminster Hall debate with a positive reflection of how we should care best for the elderly in our society. The debate highlighted the desire among the 20 MPs attending for the debate about end of life issues to be framed around the provision of excellent palliative care rather than any measure to introduce assisted suicide. Richard Ottaway MP will talk in March to MPs from the Commons Backbench Business Committee arguing for a change in the law.
Margo Macdonald to reintroduce new Bill
Margo Macdonald MSP has announced that she is going to try again to legalise assisted suicide in Scotland, just over a year after her last failed attempt. She has unveiled a new consultation on the issue and among her proposals is a suggestion that ‘licensed facilitators’ would need to be present when someone is at the point of ending their own life to ensure that lethal drugs are ‘taken correctly’.
Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) adopts non-binding resolution
A vote on the resolution for ‘Protection of human rights and dignity by taking account of previously expressed wishes of patients’ was a clear statement against euthanasia by this European Political Institution of 47 member states. The resolution strongly states, ‘Euthanasia in the sense of intentional killing by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit, must always be prohibited.’
Tony Nicklinson in court
Tony Nicklinson, a 57 year old man paralysed from the neck down, has begun a court battle to allow doctors to end his life, in an assault on the Murder Act 1965. Such a change would have far reaching implications by potentially removing legal protection from large numbers of sick and disabled people.
Euthanasia of woman with advanced dementia in Netherlands sounds warning to Britain
A 64 year old woman suffering from severe senile dementia has been euthanised in the Netherlands – even though she was no longer able to express her wish to die. The case shows that legalising assisted suicide or euthanasia in Britain would be a recipe for the abuse and exploitation of elderly, dying and disabled people.
Dignitas figures overhyped
An article in the Daily Telegraph attempted to make news of a slight rise in the number of Britons registered with the controversial Swiss suicide facility. These deaths, around 20 a year, represent a tiny fraction of the 500,000 natural deaths that occur in Britain annually.
A new milestone in irresponsible media reporting
In December an international media platform was given to a new case of assisted suicide involving a media personality who was dying of cancer. The story broke virtually every international guideline on media suicide portrayal and marked a new milestone in irresponsible media reporting.
‘Life’ sentences for murder are necessary to deter would be mercy killers
The Homicide Review Advisory Group advised in December a revision of sentences for murder under the murder act 1965. Further developments await.
Debate at Festival of the Dying
Dr Peter Saunders and Kevin Fitzpatrick OBE will be debating Debbie Purdy and Dr Philip Graham with Jon Snow at the Southbank Centre’s Festival for the Living on 28 January.
•Lessons from Stephen Hawking and Kathryn Higham about assisted suicide.
•Overview of assisted suicide in the United States
•GMC consultation due for guidance on dealing with complaints of assisted suicide
•Why legalising assisted suicide also inevitably legalises euthanasia