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ss triple helix - Spring 2022,  Assisted suicide: the onslaught continues

Assisted suicide: the onslaught continues

Review by Mark Pickering
CMF Chief Executive
In recent months there has been continual pressure to legalise assisted suicide all around the British Isles. In Westminster, Baroness Meacher's bill had its second reading in October, with an excellent seven-hour debate; it is unlikely to progress beyond Committee stage. However, an amendment by Lord Forsyth to the Government's Health & Care Bill would, if passed, mandate the Government to bring forth its own 'assisted dying' bill within a year. This is a highly irregular misuse of parliamentary protocol and reflects campaigners' frustrations at their lack of concrete success despite continual lobbying.

Meanwhile, Baroness Finlay's tireless campaigning on palliative care received a fantastic boost in February, when the Government adopted her amendment to the Health and Care Bill. This would result in universal commissioning of palliative care within the English NHS and should help to reduce difficult deaths. [1]

Dignity in Dying (DiD) continue to press their mantra of 'terminally ill, mentally competent adults with six months to live'. However, all the other campaign groups in the British Isles (at least six) want to go further. DiD's narrow campaign is simply a pragmatic attempt to get a foot in the door; others would then push it wider. [2]

In Scotland, Liam McArthur's public consultation received over 10,000 responses; we await analysis of these and further indications of his draft bill. In Jersey, the Citizens' Jury led to the States Assembly approving the principle of 'assisted dying' legislation in November. [3] We expect to see draft legislation later this year, after elections in Jersey.

In Dublin, although the Dying with Dignity Bill was rejected last year, a special committee will soon examine 'assisted dying' proposals in more detail. [4]

CMF continues to work through our partner organisations to promote good palliative care and to highlight the dangers of 'assisted dying' legislation. Please consider signing up to Our Duty of Care to receive regular updates on how you can help. ourdutyofcare.org.uk

References
references accessed 8/3/2022
  1. Govt backs right to end-of-life care for all. The Christian Institute. 2 March 2022. bit.ly/3sSaB4L
  2. Our Campaign - What We Want. My Death, My Decision. bit.ly/3sSfb2Y

  3. Jersey approves principle of legalising assisted dying. BBC News Online. bbc.in/3pQ1T5f

  4. Joint Committee on Justice recommends Special Oireachtas Committee examines topic of assisted dying following scrutiny of Dying with Dignity Bill 2020. Houses of the Oireachtas. 21 Jul 2021. bit.ly/3sSlgfV
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