Posted by: Witch Doctor | February 5, 2010

Assisted dying – Lords debate (Part 3)



Following Sir Terry Pratchett’s Dimbleby lecture and the recent Inglis and Gilderdale cases, a short debate on assisted dying took place on Wednesday in The House of Lords.


It followed a question asked by Lord Warner.

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to holding an independent inquiry to examine the evidence relating to a change in the law on assisted dying for terminally ill adults.”

Here are a few quotes from those participating.


She seems to be AGAINST assisted dying.

“My Lords, how ironic that Sir Terry Pratchett was given such a platform this week-a man whose views are purely from an individual perspective. It is a view so at odds with that of thousands of other terminally ill and disabled people, who want Parliament to concentrate on better support to live, not to die.

Baroness Wilkins: I will continue to read my noble friend’s speech on her behalf. That he articulated the majority view of the population is not disputed. However, he did not speak for disabled and terminally ill people. Not a single organisation of or for disabled and terminally ill people supports a change in the law. Does it not seem strange that those identified as beneficiaries of assisted dying are not insisting that their organisations campaign for a change in the law? The Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Alzheimer’s Society are all silent on the issue, and RADAR has come out in opposition.

When we campaigned for equality we used the slogan, “Nothing about us, without us”. Now we feel that we are on the receiving end of a campaign waged by people fearful of disability and terminal illness. With the exception of a few individuals, it is a campaign wholly without us. Today’s Motion calls for the examination of,

“evidence relating to a change in the law”.

What about evidence supporting the current law? Does this relentless pressing for a change in the law help the newly diagnosed come to terms with their changing circumstances? Does it assist their families and friends in their support? No, it has the opposite effect. It says: you will not cope. You will not adjust. You will enter a living hell. You should consider a premature death. The ignorance of that approach astounds me. The House has done much to improve the lives of disabled and terminally ill people. It has rejected all previous attempts to change the law. The evidence I hear from disabled and terminally ill people is unchanged.

My Lords, this inquiry will simply exacerbate, worry and depress all of us further.”

More later….

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