Friday 19 September 2008

Baroness Warnock and a "duty to die"

Today's Telegraph reports that Baroness (Mary) Warnock, the anti-life philosopher, has continued her promotion of the idea that people with disabling conditions have a duty to die prematurely. In an interview with the Church of Scotland's Life and Work magazine, Lady Warnock says:

"If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives – your family's lives – and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service.

"I'm absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there's a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they're a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.

"Actually I've just written an article called 'A Duty to Die?' for a Norwegian periodical. I wrote it really suggesting that there's nothing wrong with feeling you ought to do so for the sake of others as well as yourself."

One wonders why the Church of Scotland gave Lady Warnock a platform for her unChristian views, especially considering the Church of Scotland's position:

"The Church of Scotland is opposed to all forms of euthanasia. Doctor-assisted dying may currently be seen as one option for the terminally ill, but we are concerned that it may come to be regarded as a duty in future.

"The situation must never arise where the terminally-ill or the very elderly feel pressurised by society to end their lives."

Some people will regard Lady Warnock's opinions as progressive. Her opinions are, in fact, a regression to the brutal ancient world, when enforced suicide as a punishment was commonplace. She implies that some patients should, like Socrates, accept death so as not to inconvenience the state, society and themselves with a troublesome existence.

Lady Warnock is considerably more honest than the government about the pro-euthanasia nature and agenda of the Mental Capacity Act:

"If you've an advance directive, appointing someone else to act on your behalf, if you become incapacitated, then I think there is a hope that your advocate may say that you would not wish to live in this condition so please try to help her die.

"I think that's the way the future will go, putting it rather brutally, you'd be licensing people to put others down."

Interestingly, according to Melanie Philips, the commentator, Lady Warnock "was fully aware that her incurably ill husband, Geoffrey [pictured with Lady Warnock], accepted the help of a family doctor to take lethal doses of morphine in order to end his life."

Even more interestingly, the Wikipedia entry on Lady Warnock says:

"She never knew her eldest sibling, Malcolm, who was severely mentally handicapped with autism and cared for in a nursing home, spending his last days in a Dorset Hospital."

Perhaps if she had known Malcolm, she would have been exposed at a formative age to the humanity of caring for the disabled, and the disabled of today would not be burdened by her inhuman ideas.