Thursday, 2 February 2012

Eminent legal academic offers hard-hitting challenge to Falconer assisted suicide report

Dr Jacqueline Laing
Dr Jacqueline Laing, senior lecturer in law at London Metropolitan University, has written a hard-hitting challenge in The New Law Journal to the Falconer report on assisted suicide. Here are some of her most salient points:
  • "With a steadily ageing population in Western countries and numerous political, financial and medical interests in the procedure, it is, perhaps, unsurprising that the subject should now be raised annually."
  • "Discrimination against the vulnerable, and thus Art 14 incompatibility, bedevils this ethical terrain ... Once enshrined in law, the practice invariably involves a move towards the elimination of those who have not asked to be killed, those who are unwanted, those who are lonely and low-income (KNMG Dutch Physicians Guidelines, Position paper, 23 June 2011), and those whose deaths offer some advantage to third parties controlling the process."
  • "In this environment failures of transparency, ie lies and deception, are both pragmatic and inevitable. Belgium is now well-known for its failures of transparency with only 52.8% of acts of euthanasia reported to the authorities in Flanders. (Reporting of euthanasia in medical practice in Flanders, Belgium (BMJ 2010; 341: c5174).)"
  • "[In the Netherlands] voluntary euthanasia has given way to non-voluntary euthanasia, false reporting and under-reporting."
  • "Falconer et al seriously underestimate human capacity for error and vice ... Falconer and his stacked commission with their foot-in-thedoor approach to this programme, invite, institutionalise and incentivise murder— nothing less."
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