A former Archbishop of Canterbury has urged UK MPs to debate assisted dying legislation and says helping terminally ill people end their lives is “deeply Christian”.
“It is deeply Christian to do all we can so that no one suffers against their will,” Lord George Carey wrote in a submission to MPs on the health select committee on the issue, according to the Telegraph.
Carey was the ceremonial head of the Church of England from 1991 to 2002. Although he retired from senior leadership in the Church, he remains a member of the House of Lords. His view on assisted dying is at odds with the position of the church, which maintains that “it is essential that law and medical practice adopt a presumption in favor of life.”
“Some people think they will find meaning in their own suffering in the last months and weeks of their lives,” Carey said. “I respect that, but it cannot be justified to expect others to share that belief.”
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He went on to say that assisted dying should be available “only to those who demonstrate a clear mind and a persistent resolve to seek it”, but that it is “an act of great generosity, of kindness and human love to help those in need”. will of the only person who matters – the victim himself.”
He described it as “a strange situation” that a patient has the right to refuse life-sustaining treatment, but does not have the right to accept life-ending drugs “that would allow him to die. in peace”.
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He urged the committee to “send the message that we live in a compassionate society that has the courage to face complexity, not a society that bases its rules on fear or misunderstanding.”
Carey spoke out in favor of assisted dying legislation when UK leaders debated it in 2014, when a push for it failed.
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The Church of England has opposed an assisted dying law, warning in its submission to MPs that they present a ‘slippery slope in operation’ despite supposed safeguards, pointing to places such as Canada , Oregon, California, Australia and New Zealand.
“Suggested measures put in place could include assisted suicide conducted by one’s own GP only, a court deciding in favor of an individual case, and an appointed social worker being assigned to the person requesting assisted suicide,” the author wrote. ‘church.
“Given the already existing workload and the level of abuse in recent years, both in some NHS Trusts and in the private sector, it is unlikely that these safeguards will prove effective,” they said. for follow-up.
“GPs and others cannot be expected to know all of their patients intimately enough to play this role.”
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The Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has also spoken out against assisted suicide laws, with the Bishop of Portsmouth Philip Egan recently advising clergy and parishioners of British crown dependency to Jersey to “mobilise” and “speak out” against such proposals. .