A group against euthanasia in the United Kingdom asks to keep the laws against assisted suicide, in response to the request of the family of an old woman, accused of murdering her husband, so that the laws relax.
"It is sad to see that this case is used to try to justify a campaign that breaks universal protections, treating people with terminal illnesses, disabilities or who have chronic conditions differently," said the chief executive of Care Not Killing, Dr Gordon Macdonald.
"We know from the handful of places that have made such a big change, that vulnerable people often feel pressured to end their lives prematurely," he said.
Other countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada have legalized assisted suicide, and Macdonald notes that the negative effects of these legal decisions are already being demonstrated.
In Canada, he said, that only the law changed in 2016, improvements to palliative medicine have not materialized, the courts have extended assisted suicide to those with chronic conditions that are not terminal, and some patients are denied medical care and instead they are offered lethal medications.
He also recalled the case of the Belgian Godelieva De Troyer, who was physically healthy but suffered from depression for most of his life, and the Belgian State gave him euthanasia in 2012 “without consulting his son, nor the psychiatrist who I had attended for more than 20 years. ”
A Belgian report on euthanasia in 2016-17 suggests that approximately six people receive euthanasia daily in the country, where the practice has been legal since 2002.
“In the Netherlands there was a case of a 74-year-old woman suffering from dementia who was murdered in 2016. The doctor allegedly could not verify that the woman wanted to end her life, sedated her and asked her family to support her while administering the lethal drug, ”said Macdonald.
"These cases and many others show how assisted death laws are working well beyond their original mandate, and how patients who are not mentally competent are being killed regularly," he said.
The Eccleston case
A jury acquitted Mavis Eccleston, 80, in September of the murder and murder of her husband Dennis, 81, the BBC reports.
Mavis was accused of giving her husband a lethal dose of medication without her knowledge in a "murder for mercy" in February.
Mavis told the jury that she and her husband intended to take their own lives with the medicine and that they had decided to do so after Dennis' terminal cancer diagnosis.
The couple was found in their apartment by family members on February 19, 2018, after they took the drugs. The couple was rushed to the hospital. Mavis survived, Dennis no.
The couple's daughter, Joy Munns, said her mother "should never have been charged with murder" and is asking for a change in the so-called assisted death laws in the United Kingdom.
“My dad wanted to die at home with his family around him. I wanted to leave and not suffer the pain, ”Munns told the BBC.
The Church's position on assisted suicide
The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms that suicide and cooperation in suicide are morally unacceptable, although it points out that: “You should not despair of the eternal salvation of those who have died. God may have facilitated them in ways that He only knows the occasion of a saving repentance. The Church prays for the people who have attempted against her life. ”
“Those whose life is diminished or weakened are entitled to special respect. Sick or diminished people should be treated to live as normal a life as possible. Whatever the motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in ending the life of diminished, sick or dying people. It is morally unacceptable. ”, Affirms the Catechism.
“Therefore, an action or an omission that, of his or in the intention, causes death to suppress pain, constitutes a homicide seriously contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect of the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment in which one may have fallen in good faith does not change the nature of this homicidal act, which must always be rejected and excluded, ”he adds.
Law on assisted suicide in the United Kingdom
The 1961 suicide law states that it is illegal to encourage or assist death in England and Wales, the BBC reports. In 2015, the United Kingdom Parliament rejected a bill that sought to legalize assisted suicide for patients with terminal illnesses.
Noel Conway, a man with terminal illness who wanted a doctor to prescribe a lethal drug, challenged the Suicide Act of 1961 in the 2017 Superior Court, but his case was dismissed.
Translated and adapted by Harumi Suzuki. Originally posted in CNA