DAA News Network

UK: Prime Minister speaks out against assisted suicide

Posted 25/2-10 at 15.55

The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, became one of the highest profile people to reject the idea of changing the law to allow ‘assisted suicide". In an article in the Daily Telegraph, he wrote, ‘... death as an option and an entitlement, via whatever bureaucratic processes a change in the law might devise, would fundamentally change the way we think about mortality. The risk of pressures - however subtle - on the frail and the vulnerable, who may feel their existences burdensome to others, cannot ever be entirely excluded...'.


Editorial comment: Legalised euthanasia/assisted suicide poses one of the most serious threats to the lives of disabled people. The Not Dead Yet UK group, made up of disabled people and their allies, is campaigning against the increasingly vocal ‘right-to-die' movement. They write:

‘We believe individual disabled people's suicidal cries for help come from a lack of proper practical, emotional and medical support needed to live dignified lives, rather than from the ‘suffering' they experience as a result of a medical condition. Such loss of hope - which forces some to see death as their only option - is easily misinterpreted in a society that continues to see and treat disabled people as second class citizens. Individuals risk being easily exploited by the ‘right-to-die' movement or, worse, by family, friends and health care professionals. Their attitude is not compassionate - it is prejudiced and disablist. We oppose policies that single out individuals for legalised killing based on their medical condition or prognosis. This includes helping people to die whether by killing them, or by withdrawal or withholding of treatment, in the name of compassion and mercy.'



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