There is a ‘strong case’ for the legalisation of assisted suicide, say a group of experts.
The Commission on Assisted Dying said that the system currently in place is not adequate to deal with the needs of society.
The Commission, which is chaired by Lord Falconer QC is made up of a combination of medical experts, politicians, a leading consultant in disability equality and an Anglican priest published its 400 page report today.
The report comes after a year spent in public consultations and commissioning and reviewing expert research.
But some critics including the pressure group ‘Care Not Killing’ have claimed it is biased, as it was suggested by the group ‘Dignity in Dying’ and part funded by the author Sir Terry Pratchett, one of their patrons and an advocate of a change in the law.
Care Not Killing also say that the members of the committee are not independent, and that the majority were advocates of assisted dying prior to their appointment.
The report gives a majority conclusion, saying that assisted suicide should be allowed if a person was over 18, terminally ill and judged as having less than 12 months to live, making a voluntary choice and not impaired mentally.
Anyone applying would also need to be independently assessed by two doctors, and if the go ahead was given, the individual would have to administer the medication themself.
If all these factors were in place, the commission concludes, there is a ‘strong case’ for allowing assisted dying.
But one member of the panel, the Reverend Canon Dr James Woodward has already spoken out against the conclusion.
Canon Woodward, Canon of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, said: “I believe that a broader societal debate is required before any attempt is made to move to a change in the law on assisted dying.
“As a society we need to bring all our collective wisdom to bear on these questions in an open and honest fashion.”
And a spokeswoman for the British Medical Association said: "While, there is a spectrum of views on assisted dying within the medical profession, the BMA believes that the majority of doctors do not want to legalise assisted dying."
January 5th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross