And the controversial bill’s second reading is likely to be overshadowed by Labour leader contest
DISABLED ACTRESS AND COMEDIAN LIZ CARR has called the latest attempt to legalise assisted suicide ‘terrifying.’
Speaking for the anti-euthanasia organisation Not Dead Yet UK, alongside other disabled people who travelled to Westminster to lobby politicians, she said, “I am terrified by this bill because as a disabled person I have experienced first-hand how poorly our society values disabled people. It’s the same with elderly people.”
Carr was introduced by former Paralympian Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, and added, “I’m always being told, ‘If I was like you I’d kill myself.’ But I don’t want to die. And to talk about choice when so many vulnerable and disabled people do not have a choice about basic care, housing and support is to put us in a very dangerous position indeed.”
She spoke out after moves within Parliament to legalise euthanasia may be going ahead following the first reading of a members’ bill in the House of Commons about the issue in 20 years.
But its second reading is likely to be overlooked by the media as they gear up for the Labour leadership result due the day after.
MP Rob Marris (Wolverhampton and South West) supported by colleagues including Crispin Blunt and Norman Lamb, has presented a bill based on Lord Falconer’s ‘assisted dying’ bill for terminally ill adults to choose to be given ‘medically supervised assistance’ to end their own life. A second reading will be held on September 11, while the Labour party will announce its new leader at a special conference to be held next day, Saturday September 12.
Mr Marris maintained that the ‘vast majority of the public’ supported euthanasia, adding: “The public are clearly in favour of a change in the law and it is right that Parliament now debates this issue.”
If the bill ever became law, it would allow people of sound mind with less than six months to live to ask for a lethal cocktail of drugs subject to approval by two doctors and a review by a High Court Judge.
The social policy charity CARE has issued a ‘Live and Let Live’ campaign against the bill with a pamphlet in which Dr Peter Saunders, Chief Executive of the Christian Medical Fellowship, writes, “For those who do not know God, neither euthanasia nor assisted suicide are a merciful release.”
He continues: “Any change in the law to allow assisted suicide would place pressure on vulnerable people. Rather than lead people to an untimely death, as Christians we should do all we can to nurture life, love and hope.”
The debate comes amid news that a 24-year-old woman called Laura, who is not terminally ill, has been given the go-ahead to be killed by lethal injection in Belgium which has also legalised child euthanasia.