Not Dead Yet: a petition urging David Cameron to follow through on his declared support for the idea that Assisted Dying should not be legalised

Filed in Ethics by on May 29, 2014 3 Comments

ndy

This is taken from the Not Dead Yet petition on the change.org site. You can sign the petition here. And visit the Not Dead Yet website here.

Please sign the petition TODAY to stop Lord Falconer making changes to the current law.

Not Dead Yet UK (NDYUK) is a campaigning group of disabled people who believe that it would be a mistake to legalise Assisted Dying.  Lord Falconer’s bill aims to make it legal for doctors to end the lives of those they judge to be terminally ill, if the dying individual requests this intervention.  This issue affects everyone, but our experience as disabled people, informs our belief that the law should not be changed. 

NDYUK opposes this because:

-   It would be unacceptably dangerous to make it legal for one individual to end the life of another, because statutory safeguards cannot be made effective;

-   Clear evidence from other countries, where assisted dying has been introduced, shows that people are being assisted to die when they are not terminally ill.  This is not the intention of the legislation, but there is evidence to show that it happens and when it does it is often to disabled people. In the light of this Not Dead Yet UK takes the view that ‘Assisted Dying’ would be more accurately described as ‘Assisted Suicide’;

-   People can be led to perceive themselves as a burden, especially when support services are cut, and this may contribute to their decision making;

-   We believe that a positive approach to the lives of disabled people, old and young,should be a priority for society;

-   This means appropriate support for living and an accessible environment;

-   Disabled people are being hit harder than many by the recession, which gives us the clear message that our rights and opportunities are low priority when times get hard. ‘Assisted Dying’ is often linked with the cost of disability, particularly Social Care and Continuing Health Care, which are becoming increasingly unavailable.  We find this a legitimate and relevant cause for concern;

-   In a recent poll by the Royal College of GPs, 77% voted against legalising assisted suicide and many doctors acknowledge that it is very difficult to accurately predict when someone will die and they often get this wrong

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  We hope you find it thought provoking.  If you require more information please go to our website.  This is an issue that affects everyone not just disabled people.  Of course, we all hope for an easy death, but ‘Assisted Dying’ is no guarantee of that as the process can be painful and protracted and has been known not to fail completely for some individuals.

We hope you will support our campaign and join it via our website.  Updates on the progress of the bill will be available via the website.

To:
David Cameron, Prime Minister
We ask you to encourage all parliamentarians to oppose a change in the legislation on Assisted Dying in order to protect disabled and vulnerable people.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

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These unsigned articles are prepared by different members of the Jericho Tree team

Comments (3)

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  1. What has our world come to? THE most sacred thing to anyone has, I have always believed, regardless of religious/spiritual persuasion, is human life itself. Yet here we have a government who are considering a law to allow others to make the decision to end human life. Surely, I ask myself, successive governments have (rightly I believe) opposed capital punishment as it is cruel and unusual. So what is any less cruel, unusual and downright wrong than the proposals of this law?

  2. Other important questions raised by the proposal include: what next? and where will it all end? These proposals are put forward in seemingly reasonable language such as ‘showing mercy to the terminally ill/dying’. However, it is not too many steps away from saying that any imperfection makes a life unworthy and not worth living. Furthermore, it is only a few steps away from saying that this or that is too difficult/costly to operate on so it is an ‘act of kindness’ to end the person’s life.
    I was born only 15 years after the war in Europe ended. The scientists of Nazi Germany said similar things. How can we forget a lesson like that so soon?

  3. shieldsheafson says:

    We are full of contradictions.

    Who would have thought that the ‘human rights’ project could become so powerful that it risked being turned against itself, and against the human person?

    Basic human rights are not created by governments; they are pre-political. Human rights arise from a natural order whose laws can be discovered through study and experience. To remove human rights from that context could destroy their universality.

    With cultural relativism, we risk the denial of universality in the name of different cultural, political, social and even religious outlooks. The use of this cultural specificity, e.g., homosexuality, abortion, may indeed mask violations of human rights.

    Some of the world’s worst human rights violators have attempted to hide behind this type of argument.

    We have fallen into the trap that characterizes the mindset of the arbitrarily appointed professional culture of many lawyers, civil servants, and NGOs – a kind of – ism that is insensitive to local particularities and that insists on its own dogmatic interpretations of human rights.

    Relativism has penetrated so deeply into popular culture that good men and women are increasingly unable to say why any values should be defended, or why any conduct should be condemned, except that it is a matter of preference. But if there are no common truths to which people of different backgrounds and cultures can appeal, it is difficult to see how universal human rights can be upheld.

    How can juridical norms be found that guarantee freedom, human dignity and human rights? In anticipating the standard response referring to democratic processes of deliberation, one observes that public argumentation in contemporary democracies aims above all at attaining majorities, and that sensitivity to the truth is constantly overruled by sensitivity to interests; often special interests that do not truly serve everyone.

    These ‘equality’ laws protect pregnant women, but only if we accept that every woman has the right to kill her baby. These ‘equality’ laws will protect the aged, unless they are dispensed through euthanasia. The disabled will be protected from harm, provided they happen to escape abortion or infanticide.

    Marriage will be protected, but at the expense of defining marriage to include even the most casual and temporary union of anyone with anyone. Your religion will be protected, as long as you don’t believe that it actually determines what people should really believe and how they should act.

    In every case the result will not be equality, but the iron-fisted imposition of a radical secular agenda. The aged, infirm, disabled will be at risk; secularism will be the sole established religion; and marriage will soon disappear into mist.

    And where will ‘equality’ or ‘human rights’ be then?

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