The Bill to Provide Assisted Suicide

Lord Hylton

There seem to be two widely held views about the right length for human life. On the one hand are those who believe in a loving God, who cares and provides for each human being. They believe in the Resurrection and a glorious eternal after-life for those who have followed the commandments of love. On the other hand are many who believe in no God, or like the ancient Greeks and Romans, believe in gods who care little or not at all for the after-life of individual humans.

The former see this life as a preparation for the next life. They usually think that the joys, sufferings and pains of this life are to be borne of for the sake of greater bliss thereafter. They normally believe that our days are already numbered and that it would be wrong to shorten them.

The latter see life as something entirely subject to human control. They therefore think it is right and proper for all rational adults to bring their life to an end, whenever they see fit. Where a person is unable to end his own life, or has difficulty in doing so, they propose that he or she should be helped to do so. That is the theme of the Bill currently before the House of Commons.

These two views cannot be reconciled. They stem from radically different values and belief about the meaning and purpose of human life. Neither side, as we have seen in many debates, is at all likely to convince the other. The prospects for a compromise solution are negligible. The best we can hope for is that each group will respect the deeply held convictions of the other.

In this situation it is our duty to consider what is likely to be best from the point of view of public policy. We should avoid changing the status quo for the sake of assumed gains, which may prove to be an illusion. Above all, we should strive to prevent adverse unintended consequences. We need to take account of some factors, which already exist.

For example, many people with physical or mental handicaps fear that in the aftermath of new legislation, they will be seen as burdensome or as disposable members of society. They do not wish to hear calls for euthanasia. The contributions that they make to the common good may be small, but should not be disregarded. They generally form part of families, who would be diminished by their removal.

There are also the elderly and the chronically sick of all ages, who are not going to recover. Their expectation of life may be quite long, certainly far longer than the six months specified in the Bill. They have reason to fear that the climate of public opinion will turn against them, questioning their right to live. Such people should not be made to fear that they too are a burden to their families and to society at large.

We know already that the suicide of individuals has social consequences. Some kinship groups are more subject to taking their own lives than others. The loss of individuals affects those who knew or loved them. The conscious decisions of those who are likely to seek “assisted dying” are not very different from the decision of those of any age who decide to kill themselves. We can therefore expect that the assisted suicide of people with short expectations of life will have effects on the lives and well-being of others.

Lastly there are the expectations of the relatives of those who will be covered by the Bill. Such people may not be rich, but they may well own assets considered desirable – a modest house, or just a car. Will these be sufficient to make some family or relations begin persuading the terminally ill and vulnerable others that the time to go has come? Do we wish to encourage covetousness and the desire for quick gain, in cases where these might otherwise not occur?

Genuine fears, the state of public opinion and the baser side of human nature, are all factors to be weighed, before rushing to accept the enthusiasm of the proponents of the Bill.












10 comments for “The Bill to Provide Assisted Suicide

  1. MilesJSD
    02/09/2015 at 12:06 pm

    What if the “status quo” itself contains “illusion” ?
    or suchlike as
    obsolescent deeply entrenched negative-cum-negativising ‘mindsettings’ or
    ‘purse-strings-pulling loopholes’ ?

  2. maude elwes
    03/09/2015 at 12:13 pm

    @ Lord Hylton:

    ~A government official can be charged with the crime of : Murder in Trust.

    It came about as a result of the Massacre in Glencoe.

    In essesnce, what it means is, if you carry out an act of killing, via a political whim or so called ideology, you can be charged with Treasonable Murder. Which is what I believe lawyers are now looking into with regard to Ian Duncan Smith and the subsequent deaths of those under his care dying of premeditated starvation or abandonment to death.

  3. Graham
    03/09/2015 at 12:36 pm

    A thoughtful piece, but all the fears listed are outweighed by the need for liberty. Liberty to decide and control one’s own future. And the necessary respect for “the deeply held convictions of the other”.

    No one is asking those who do not wish to end their lives to do so. In return, we demand the right to end our lives if we wish it.

  4. Senex
    03/09/2015 at 2:10 pm

    No mention by you of the dilemma facing Anglican Bishops and Protestants or of the Pope wishing to allow divorced Catholics to take Holy Communion. These two issues are relevant in any moral debate.

    Parliament has effectively disestablished the Church of England. The Queen as Spiritual Leader of her Protestant Church has changed civil law to release some in marriage from God’s Ten Commandments.

    Now the Commons in a similar manner expects her to free some from their observation of the sixth commandment thus allowing them to politically kill people just as the Nazis did with those who failed to meet their high standards.

    For the Queen to do this, she must serve an anti-god in other words she has declared herself to be an atheist and heretic. Parliament has done this.

    The Church of England aware of her heresy should by rights excommunicate her forcing abdication. But the succession would fare no better as the King would inherit this heresy. The Church of England now disestablished would see the reformation line of monarchy come to an end. Only a Catholic King set upon the throne by a Jacobite Commons would see them free to abandon morality and abuse the Catholic Church as has happed in the US.

    If we recall John Lennon and his famous remark about Jesus and how an individual took exception to this and then went on to murder him. What can we say of the Queen except that her Parliament paints a target her back? The business of this Parliament has become Regicide.

    As for the Pope he would turn his laity into Protestants because divorced Protestants are not excommunicated they are allowed to take Holy Communion. The Queen commands the army why does she not ask them to enter the Commons and arrest the Speaker. The answer is that the jewel in her crown is not a diamond but political stability based upon tolerance.

    The Commons would see her crown fitted with a diamond. The Prime Minister now asks the Queen to confirm her heresy by granting letters patent to those that have abused her so that they may enter her Royal House to continue that abuse, of course in a purely advisory reforming capacity.

    • MilesJSD
      09/09/2015 at 7:03 am

      “No mention …
      of the Churches’
      The People-Hierachical Needs –
      dilemma “.

      Which is what, Senex ?
      God’s “right” to have All Faiths pack off All-of-Our best youth to War
      to torture and slaughter, and be tortured and slaughtered in return,on various and mostly foreign battlefields ?-

      and what, in defence of “Faith’s”
      “every-one else’s”
      ‘God-created’ absolute need and human-right to suffer worse-than-intolerable battlefields’ inhuman tortures and neglects –
      and again as what
      their-“Right to Life” ?

      [except the very powerful & Rich who can be not only happily-palliated into a ‘peaceful-departure’ but covertly ‘assisted’into it when they need it].

      You’ve hit this pond-surface with a good big ‘spiritual’ splash,
      but you havn’t clarified what your “two issues” are;

      nor how Any-One,
      Queen, Establishment, Church, Parliaments, ‘Economic-Forces-Majeures’,
      can be constituted, legislated, and implemented
      to be The Peoples’ First and Final Advocates & Defenders –

      versus, for instance –

      Any or All Faiths[*]
      or Peoples’ Wholisticly-Healthy-Lifestyle-Building- Inhibitive
      Other Bodies.
      Previous public information was that ‘King’ Charles would simply alter the Coin to be stamped “Defender of All Faiths” (or suchlike)

      – thus Our Crown would be co-establishing all faiths, rather than dis-establishing any
      including the Church of England
      and there-alongside the ‘Sub-church of British Rome’
      and so on and so forth …

      … let me give way …

      • Senex
        14/09/2015 at 12:34 pm

        Miles, the right to die is a conversation between atheists.

  5. maude elwes
    09/09/2015 at 8:26 am

    Every man woman and child in the Uk should be trembling in fear at the loss of our perception of Christianity and its safeguard of our lives. And they should be far more worried now we have mass immigration that will continue until the Chrisitian population in our parliament is no longer a majority, which is inevitable. Cannot be otherwise. Unless those political leaders decide to cut the ties with both Europe and the Global cabal.

    Why are our journalists no longer enlightening the public in this respect? The farce we read daily about how wonderful this mass migration will be for us, and that as many as possible should find room and board for them The safety of our population is no longer the prime mover and shaker of whoever is leading us.

    Add to that horror show of the line they are feeding us on what they are calling ‘The Assisted Suicide’ move and you can call it nothng more than outright treason. Those in the know are very aware of the mass killings under this government rouse. I have put it up here time and time again. However, here it is again. The medical staff in this country are no longer the men and women of trust. Cannot be as they now ignore the hypocratic oath they all used to take. Not surprising as aoths are not something anyone much believes in any more. Another sideline of the rejection of Chrisitianity and a fierce God.

    There is so much more to this issue than any of you want to face, the main thrust being, when you remove the need for spiritual respect the religion that kept it going dies, only for the void it leaves, to be filled by another. Anyone reading this foolish enough to believe that mankind does not need guidance is blind. Look at the young already searching for a reason to have faith. And the other, in this situation, is Islam. And if you don’t fear that God then forget the right to life at all. Human Rights are not a sacred arm of Islam. And there is no separation of State and Religion there. Secularism is an evil they do not embrace, as is Chrisitianity, Judaism and any other faith you can think up.

    Back to a good and wholesome reason not to believe in assisted suicide.

    And of course the changes to our population and the results to be expected.

    And please stop pretending, like George Galloway that this isn’t

    • Senex
      14/09/2015 at 12:36 pm

      Maude, if your traitors were to be lined up and shot would they all go to hell in a hand cart or travel on a blunder bus?

      Under the reformation legacy some laws are an inseparable fusion of religious and civil law just as strong if not stronger than the fusion of the Church and State itself. The sixth and seventh commandments are such laws.

      Parliament has acted unreasonably by denying equality before the law by not updating the civil law to offer protection to all in marriage from those who would spoil or adulterate those marriages. By this deliberate act of omission it has poisoned the relationship between state and church an abuse that is a clear breach of Article 9 of the Human Rights Act.

      As a consequence it is difficult to see how the Queen can now accept anybody from the Commons into Parliaments Royal House without compounding her injury to God and Protestants. Prime Minsters’ will instead be obliged to draw from Civic Society their appointments to the house.

      Ref: Human Rights Act 1998: Article 9, Freedom of religion

  6. 01/10/2015 at 7:16 pm

    Lord Hylton,

    I applaud once again your willingness to put forth a thoughtful, distinctly lay (only as compared to clerical not professional) Christian policy argument. I hope it is heard in many places.

    The Christian life ethic is truly a precious thing….

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