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ss triple helix - spring 2004,  The Joffe Bill returns - Still a Trojan horse for euthanasia

The Joffe Bill returns - Still a Trojan horse for euthanasia

Lord Joffe's Patient (Assisted Dying) Bill,[1] which seeks to legalise Dutchstyle euthanasia in the UK, has returned, after running out of time last parliamentary session. Skilfully reworked and renamed the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill,[2] it passed its second reading in the House of Lords on 10 March and now goes to a Lords' Select Committee for detailed scrutiny. The last such Select committee in 1994 firmly opposed any change in the law to allow euthanasia but the debate has since moved on with high profile cases of motor neurone disease adversely influencing public and medical opinion.

The revised Bill seeks to legalise euthanasia for 'terminally ill' patients for whom palliative care cannot ease suffering, but the definitions of 'terminal illness' and 'unbearable suffering' remain loosely, ambiguously and relativistically defined.

It remains a dangerous document that Christian doctors should oppose. Christian doctors should make every effort to ensure that the committee hear again the many good arguments against legalising euthanasia, along with specific critiques of the Bill's revised wording.

  1. Saunders P. Patient (Assisted Dying) Bill. Triple Helix 2003; Summer:3
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