Day 16: UK Prime Minister David Cameron Answers Assisted Dying Question

David Cameron ‘not convinced’ over assisted dying bill
PM speaks of worry about legalising euthanasia, but says he would be very happy for Commons to debate issue
Rowena Mason and Agencies, The Guardian (July 16, 2014)

Today saw another interesting development in the lead up to Friday’s debate on assisted dying in the UK’s House of Lords.

Prime Minister David Cameron was asked about the upcoming debate during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs). The Prime Minister is asked everything and anything by members of parliament during the PMQs and, in theory, has to quickly formulate some kind of response.

His answer to the assisted dying question was intriguing. He made it clear that he thought the debate should move forward but that he personally didn’t support a change to the law.

He used the word ‘euthanasia’ in his response, which is a key word choice. The House of Lords is debating an assisted dying law, not a euthanasia law. Assisted dying laws usually mean a person is given a lethal dose of a drug and then that person has to physically administer and ingest the drug in order to die. Euthanasia occurs when one person puts another person to death, i.e., person A injects person B with a drug so that person B will die.

The words make a significant legal difference for any kind of death with dignity law.

You can watch video of the entire (relatively short) exchange starting at 28:20.

I also suggest watching the faces and reactions of the other MPs. It seems that right now many MPs would rather debate anything other than a law on assisted dying. This could change after Friday.

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