07 September 2012
The current law regarding assisted dying ought not to be
changed, to avoid placing elderly people at greater risk, writes
the Revd Dr Brendan McCarthy, the Archbishops' Council's National
Adviser on Medical Ethics and Social Care Policy, in this week's
Church of England Newspaper.
Dr McCarthy writes: "…any change in the law will place
vulnerable people at greater risk than at present. Society cannot
afford to take an unrealistically optimistic view of human nature.
The fact that each year, in England, more than 300,000 elderly
people are abused, often at the hands of their close relatives,
ought to alert everyone to the dangers of creating new areas of
The article reminds readers that "the consistent position of the
Church of England, reiterated in a motion passed by General Synod
in February this year, is that the current law ought not to be
It also underlines the face that "any relaxation of the law is
likely to have unintended negative consequences for society's
appreciation of the intrinsic value of human life"; and reminds
readers that assisted suicide and euthanasia, once enacted, "do not
permit any change of mind".
Noting that "the Director of Public Prosecutions' guidelines
ensure that the law is applied in a compassionate and humane
manner", the full article can be read in full in the Church of
England Newspaper and appears online at: http://religiousintelligence.org/churchnewspaper/?p=27802.
The General Synod motion passed in February can be found here.
A special website section devoted to the assisted dying debate
can be found here.
The Policy for Prosecutors in Respect of Cases of
Encouraging or Assisting Suicide is available here.