Day 15: New Developments in the UK Assisted Dying Debate

Assisted dying: leading doctors call on Lords to back legalisation
Twenty-seven leading figures write to every peer urging them to back Lord Falconer’s private members bill on assisted dying
Denis Campbell and Dominic Smith, The Guardian (July 15, 2014)

 

Church of England split over assisted dying as debate looms
Consensus on women bishops set aside as Lords examine Falconer’s bill, after support from Desmond Tutu and Lord Carey
Andrew Brown, The Guardian (July 15, 2014)

Yesterday’s 31 Days of Death post focused on the upcoming UK House of Lords debate on legalising assisted dying in England and Wales.

This entire week might become about Friday’s debate, so I’m turning today’s post into an update.

Two interesting developments.

A group of 27 medical authorities wrote letters to every House of Lord’s member encouraging them to support the proposed bill. This kind of letter writing campaign has happened before but this time it’s part of a larger shift in which slowly but surely religious leaders who support a change to the law are now speaking out. I focused on religion, in particular, yesterday.

The religious debate brings me to the second of today’s articles. The Church of England currently finds itself in a debate that I’m not entirely sure it expected before Friday’s debate. Before the week is out, I think that more Anglican supporters of assisted dying might make their support known. As I said yesterday, this theology discussion is extremely important to have in order to facilitate as a discussion about religious beliefs.

On the upside for the Church of England: women can now be Bishops, so at least that’s something.

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