Thursday 2 July 2009

Bishop of Winchester writes against assisted suicide amendments

Michael Scott-Joynt (pictured), the Anglican bishop of Winchester, has written a strong article for the Church of England newspaper against amendments which would undermine the law against assisted suicide. His article is fitting counter-part to Monday's joint letter by religious leaders on the same theme. I provide some key points below, though do read the full article here. Please tell members of the House of Lords about the Bishop of Winchester's article when you contact them about the amendments - please see SPUC's action alert of 6 June. The bishop wrote:
  • "[T]o legalise assistance [in suicide] is surely to encourage it.
  • "Those pressing for a change in the law mainly have in mind a small minority of highly resolute people who argue not just for their own but for everyone’s 'autonomy' over themselves and their own lives. But even these people, let alone the rest of us, are not in reality 'autonomous'; everyone’s life is bound up with, depends upon and influences the lives of others...
  • "Parliament has a particular duty to care for the very many who in illness, pain, fear and loss of their faculties may be more vulnerable, than the resolute and articulate few, to the influence and persuasion of others or indeed to the persuasion of their own care and anxiety for their families...
  • "Parliament also has a duty to defend the integrity and trustworthiness of the medical and nursing professions – again with an eye especially on the need of the most vulnerable to be able to trust those professionally engaged in their care.
  • "[V]ery seriously ill, and dying, people very often continue to be an inspiration and an encouragement, a blessing and a gift, to those around them, especially when they are surrounded by good medical care and by sheer human love and compassion."
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