While making assisted suicide easier can be made to sound seductive, it is incredibly dangerous and open to abuse. A new bill in the British parliament is both unsafe and unnecessary, says Agnes Fletcher of Living and Dying Well.
On September 11, Rob Marris MP’s Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill will have its Second Reading in the Commons. According to Dignity in Dying, which has conducted an opinion poll on the subject, over 80 percent of the public would like to see the law changed.
At Living and Dying Well we believe that there is no compelling evidence for legal change. Even if there was, this Bill presents insufficient safeguards to protect the most vulnerable of us from the pressure of a new “duty to die” — or indeed from direct coercion for financial gain.
At the moment, the Suicide Act 1961 is clear, effective, and protects us all. Committing suicide is not illegal, but as a society we make every effort to prevent it. And encouraging or assisting someone else to commit suicide is illegal.