Faith leaders warn of risk to vulnerable in Assisted Dying bill


Faith leaders have warned of the risk to vulnerable people in the most recent attempt to change the law on assisted suicide.


In a joint letter to peers, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Justin Welby, and The Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, spoke of their “profound disquiet” over the Assisted Dying Bill, ahead of its second reading in the House of Lords.


The Private Member’s Bill, tabled by Baroness Meacher, proposes legalising assisted suicide for terminally ill people with under six months to live.


The three faith leaders highlight the risks and dangers entailed in the provisions of the Bill and the “real-life” practical inadequacies of its proposed safeguards.


The common good is not served by policies or actions that would place very many vulnerable people in more vulnerable positions, they warn.


They appeal for people of all faiths and none to join with them through the “common bond of humanity” in caring for the most vulnerable in society.


In contrast to the Bill, the faith leaders call for measures to make high-quality palliative care available to all at the end of their lives.


The aim of a compassionate society should be “assisted living” rather than an acceptance of assisted suicide, they note.


They say: “By the faiths we profess, we hold every human life to be a precious gift of the Creator, to be upheld and protected.


“All people of faith, and those of none, can share our concern that the common good is not served by policies or actions that would place very many vulnerable people in more vulnerable positions.


“We appeal to people of whatever faith or belief to join us through our common bond of humanity in caring for the most vulnerable people within our society.


“In contrast to the proposals in this Bill, we continue to call for measures to make high-quality palliative care available to all at the end of their lives.


“We believe that the aim of a compassionate society should be assisted living rather than an acceptance of assisted suicide.”


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