Tag Archives: assisted suicide

MSPs reject Assisted Suicide Bill – read two compelling speeches from Lib Dems McArthur and McInnes

I was sad that Holyrood rejected the Assisted Suicide Bill yesterday, but I was heartened by the fact that support for such a measure is growing and I think the debate will continue.

It was also good to see that it was conducted in such a respectful and sensitive fashion.

I thought you might like to see the two speeches our MSPs made, one on each side of the argument from Alison McInnes and Liam McArthur. Both were brilliant, thoughtful and liberal. If I had been persuadable, Alison’s speech might have done it.

Alison McInnes:

I come to this debate as a liberal and

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Lord Avebury’s personal story – why he wants the option of assisted dying

eric aveburyLiberal Democrat peer Eric Avebury, a great friend of this site, has been talking to the Dignity in Dying website about why he feels so strongly that assisted dying should be an option, to help him avoid a “very terrible” death from his blood cancer.

I am committed to campaigning for terminally ill, mentally competent people to have the right to an assisted death. I have an incurable disease, a form of blood cancer called myelofibrosis, where the inside of the bone marrow turns to fibre and it no longer produces blood, so you suffocate. I have been told that it can be very terrible in the last stages.

It is a debate that the public have been engaging in for many years and finally Parliament has decided to catch up. I have had my own conversations with my family. My wife comes to all my consultations and we have discussed assisted dying. She knows that the ideal would be to have a peaceful death at home and for palliative care to deal with any serious pain, but if it doesn’t she would respect my decision to have an assisted death – assuming the Bill is passed by then. I am not keen on the idea of travelling to Switzerland and we haven’t discussed that option. My four children know my views and don’t object to them either.

I obviously have a personal stake in the Bill and the future of the assisted dying campaign. Currently I am not in the latter stages of my illness and I am very hopeful that this year will not be my last.

I am confident that, when this time comes for me, assisted dying for terminally ill people will be a legal right in the UK, and I will be able to plan the death that I want.

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Opinion: Assisted suicide – why the Falconer Bill must be rejected

Parliament Sunset - Photo by Greg KnappThe issue of assisted suicide and euthanasia has been presented in the media in a highly emotionally charged way in recent years, with several ‘hard cases’ of non-terminally ill people wanting to die. This has resulted in confusion over what exactly is at stake in the forthcoming Falconer Bill and of course, hard cases make bad law.

In the sad case of Tony Nicklinson, lawyers argued that he had Article 8 rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (respect for private life and family). In their view, …

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Lord Carlile writes…Examining the evidence on assisted suicide

Simon Beard’s article on what he calls ‘the debate around legalising assisted dying’ is so replete with errors, half-truths and spin that it is difficult to know where to start with the correcting pen.

He refers to “the estimated 500 people who commit suicide each year due to a terminal or chronic illness”. The estimate he refers to was made in a report by Demos on the incidence of suicide among seriously ill people. This report does not state that 500 people commit suicide each year because they are terminally or chronically ill. It estimates that “approximately 10 per cent …

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Chris Davies MEP writes… Assisted dying is a liberal issue

It was a Liberal Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt (now the leader of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament) who ensured that legislation to permit medically assisted dying was brought forward in Belgium a decade ago.  Publication of the report by the independent commission on assisted dying, chaired by Lord Falconer, should be a reminder to our Liberal Democrat leadership of our own very similar party policy on the subject.

Medically assisted dying (the patient self-administering) or euthanasia (the doctor providing direct assistance) are very definitely liberal matters.  They are about respect for individual wishes when the frailty or immobility of the individual …

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CommentIsLinked@LDV: Anthony Lester – End the legal uncertainty over assisted suicide

Over at the Indpendent, Lib Dem peer Lord (Antony) Lester argues that citizens are entitled to know if their conduct is criminal. Here’s an excerpt:

The Suicide Act 1961 changed the law so that suicide is no longer a crime, but it remains a crime to encourage or assist suicide, and the current state of the law is not as certain as criminal law should be. Criminal liability depends on the way a particular Director of Public Prosecutions decides what is in the public interest.

Like many others, I believe that we need a legal framework which would allow doctors and nurses

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