Life from beginning to end by Stephen Pittman
Suicide is no longer a crime. And, these days, few of us would question the ethics of one who had made this choice. It is possible that in days to come, crippled with life-changing illness, one might be tempted to follow this path. But what if one cannot open that packet of pills or reach for the drink laced with barbiturates. A good and trusted friend might be willing to help – but, under present legislation, this would be assisted suicide and they would be committing a crime and could be imprisoned.
The bill going before the House of Lords next month is considering this very scenario. And there are many voices speaking against it – and we in the pew are asked to write to the Peers asking them to block it. One might be sympathetic to the trusted friend. But there’s another question here: Could this bill lead to euthanasia – this is not assisted suicide as the decision to take a life is made by another. King Solomon could struggle here.
It impossible not to be impressed by Heidi Crowter. This brave young woman went to the High Court to say the present abortion laws discriminate her against because she has Down’s syndrome. Under present laws, Down’s babies can be aborted up to birth because they would suffer “such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped”.
Heidi doesn’t agree and insists her life is as valuable as anybody elses. And she has vowed to fight on. After the hearing, she posted on Twitter: "The judges might not think [the law] discriminates against me. The government might not think it discriminates against me. But I am telling you I feel discriminated against." Heidi Crowter is a fine example of the value of human life.
Schools in England are struggling to stay open because of the increasing Covid infection rates among pupils. While the rate of infection is decreasing among adults, for children the figure is rising. We have not seen the last of this.
Meanwhile, a shortage of drivers, has led to massive queues at petrol stations – yes, there’s some contradiction there. And the Government has only just agreed to allow 10,500 fuel tanker and food lorry drivers from the EU to work in the UK, in the three months, up to Christmas Eve. No wonder that the European Road Haulers Association thinks few EU drivers would be interested in the offer.
13 August: The light beneath the bushel