• Assisted Dying Debate

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

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Ahead of tomorrow’s House of Lords debate, about Lord Falconer’s assisted dying bill, there has been a lot of discussion about the morality of assisted dying.

The law change proposes to allow doctors to prescribe a lethal dose to terminally-ill patients judged to have less than six months to live.

Recently a number of high profile figures have changed their mind over assisted dying and now support it. This includes the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey and Norman Lamb MP, Care Minister.

Norman Lamb said he had changed his mind after talking to “an awful lot of people” whose friends and relatives had died after “going through months of pain and distress”.

Mr Lamb said the current situation, with families that “do not know what the law actually will do to them”, was “confused”.

He added: “I think that there are very clear safeguards, the safeguards are absolutely critical, in a sense it was the fear of exploitation which always caused me concern in the past.

“But ultimately, should we stand in the way of someone wanting to make their own decision about their life, or should we set the safeguards in place to ensure that there is every chance of avoiding that exploitation?

“I’m very clear in my mind that the individual should be the person who decides, not the state.”

Previous bills about assisted dying have been defeated, which goes against the majority of public opinion. It will be interesting to see if Parliament passes the assisted dying bill, as MPs and Lords will be given a free vote.

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