Charles Moore: Meacher Bill pushes assisted suicide not ‘assisted dying’
The latest attempt to legalise assisted suicide in England and Wales has been described as “the legislative equivalent of vexatious litigation” by Charles Moore (Lord Moore of Etchingham), the former editor of the Daily Telegraph.
The Assisted Dying Bill – which will be debated in the House of Lords in the next few weeks – would make it legal for those deemed to have less than six months to live to get help to kill themselves.
In 2015, a similar Bill was introduced in the House of Commons and defeated by MPs, by 330 votes to 118.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Lord Moore reminded readers that despite such proposals being repeatedly debated and rejected, “the subject is pushed back on to the agenda”.
He challenged the terminology used by those pushing to remove legal protections for vulnerable people and said that what the Bill is about is not actually assisted dying, but assisted suicide, a much grimmer concept:
“’Assisted dying’ is a phrase designed to make euthanasia sound good. But we already have, thank goodness, plenty of assisted dying – most notably provided by the hospice movement. Its excellent nurses help people die well, but never, even if patients demand it, try to enable death.
“What the Bill is talking about is not assisted dying, but assisted suicide, a much grimmer concept.”
Danny Kruger MP – who has been leading the campaign in the Commons against such legislation says it is “dystopic” and that “Once you have conceded, legally, the right of some people to request official help to kill themselves, that right quickly becomes universal.”
Leading disability rights campaigners have also sounded the alarm that a “right to die” ends up becoming a “duty to die” placing fatal pressure on disabled and vulnerable people, whilst others have pointed out that at a time when 132,000 British people have been killed by Covid – and with significant mental illness and depression following in its wake – this is not the time to take away safeguards.