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Peers clash over right to die 2spin2

Post  Panda on Sun 12 May - 8:10

Peers clash over right-to-die 'spin'

One of Britain’s leading lawyers has accused Lord Falconer, the former Lord
Chancellor, of indulging in “Orwellian spin” as he seeks to legalise assisted

Lord Carlile of Berriew QC said
Lord Falconer's plans would not 'pass the public safety test' Photo: The

By John Bingham, Social Affairs

9:02PM BST 11 May 2013


Lord Carlile of Berriew QC said that plans due to be put before Parliament by
Lord Falconer on Wednesday to allow doctors to help terminally ill people to die
would not “pass the public safety test”. Lord Carlile makes his warning, in an
article in today’s Sunday Telegraph, as the biggest combined assault on
Britain’s ban on euthanasia for a generation is about to be instigated.

In addition to the Bill, there will be a renewed push to legalise assisted
suicide through the courts.

It includes a joint challenge led by Jane Nicklinson, the widow of Tony
Nicklinson, the “locked-in syndrome” sufferer who died last year, and Paul Lamb,
a severely disabled former lorry driver.

They are going to the Court of Appeal attempting to create a new defence
against murder charges for doctors who assist with a suicide.

In a parallel case, a locked-in syndrome sufferer named only as “Martin” is
fighting to open up guidelines — issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions —
which protect close family members, to include strangers.

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Lord Falconer’s Bill will go before the Lords on Wednesday.

Based on the conclusions of an informal commission on assisted dying he
chaired last year, the Bill would introduce a system whereby doctors can provide
terminally ill patients with a fatal dose of drugs.

It is termed “assisted dying” rather than “assisted suicide” as it would be
limited to people who are terminally ill with a prognosis of six months or less
to live.

But Lord Carlile branded the distinction “nonsense”.

“In law, as in the English language, if you take your own life, whatever your
state of health, that is suicide; and a doctor, or anyone else, who supplies you
with the means to do so is assisting suicide,” he wrote.

“Sound law-making demands clarity. It cannot be based on euphemisms, verbal
evasions or Orwellian spin.”

Helping somebody to commit suicide is a crime, with a possible jail term of
14 years in England and Wales.

Dignity in Dying, a group supporting the Bill, agreed that the proposal would
lead to about 1,000 people a year taking their own lives.

But it insisted this was far lower than the number of people who already do
so with informal help.
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