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Will the MPs Debate Lead To the Death of the Assisted Dying Bill?

Joel explores whether MPs were right to reject assisted dying

Joel Rackham

Naked Politics Blogger 

MPs are not preventing deaths by last friday’s vote they are increasing suffering, elected representatives voted against a change in the law giving more freedom to the terminally ill over decisions regarding the end of their lives. The charity Dignity in Dying published a report saying 82% of people supported a change in the law, and after high profile cases such as Bob Cole and Terry Pratchett whose voices were urging change, it is not hard to understand why so many people agree. But Westminster failed to hear the voice of the public and defeated the bill on a free vote 330 – 118.

MPs are not protecting people by denying this freedom; you wouldn’t force a man with a broken leg to finish a race. We treat animals with more humanity, letting them pass away rather than forcing them to live out months of pain and misery. What part of being human means that you no longer have the choice how and when to end your life without the fear of repercussions for close friends or family? Assisted dying allows for a peaceful death, it doesn’t give any powers to a second party that might be manipulated. It should be a comfort to the terminally ill, not a fear.

The religious community has not been shy in the debate, even the Archbishop of Canterbury came out in opposition to the proposals. They see assisted dying as directly opposed to the Christian belief of the sanctity of life. However it must be accepted that we are no longer a religious country, nor do we follow the word of the Bible in the same way. If that was the case then we would never have legalized same sex marriages and war would be completely outlawed. Furthermore the bill only increases freedom; the impact it has on the religious is non-existent if they do not choose it to be. We are not suggesting the systematic extermination of every terminally ill patient in the country, but we suggest a choice for people who otherwise have none.

One thing I shall concede, is that when the reality comes and the individual is faced with the choice there is no right decision and the job for the recommending doctors and the judge is impossible. It is not a decision I would like to be involved in and I can understand the reluctance of professionals to be involved as well. But rather than worrying about how hard it might be for ourselves we should think about how hard it is for the patient. Very few people truly understand what it is like to be willing death on ourselves and without experiencing it, why should we be judging?

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Nobody wants their family to watch them wither away, no one wants their children to have to change their underwear because they are unable and no one wants to be fighting pain and nausea unable to leave the hospital bed. People are living without hope or freedom and because others refuse to allow it have to spend their last few desperate months in agony while the world watches them fade away.

Give these people freedom, give them dignity.

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