In the light of the Assisted Dying (No. 2) Bill being debated at second reading today in the House of Commons and rejected by a majority of 212 MPs, Sir Bill Cash, who voted against the Bill said –
“I know that for many this Bill is a very controversial issue but whilst understanding that this is the case, I have as with all other MPs to be guided by my conscience on a free vote.
“I am adamant in my opposition to The Assisted Dying Bill. Every person’s life is equally worthy of respect and protection. Even if someone loses sight of the dignity and value of their life – whether through pain, suffering or loneliness – they remain valuable in themselves and a member of the human family. They deserve care, support and sometimes medical treatment for depression, not assistance with suicide.
“As a society we rightly go to great lengths to prevent each and every suicide. In the words of the World Health Organisation, ‘every single life lost to suicide is one too many’.
“Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.
“When people are dying in pain, we certainly do have a duty to do something and the United Kingdom was a pioneer in the hospice movement and the development of palliative care but most people do not have access to a hospice. There is need for more resources to support improved palliative and end of life care.
“The British Medical Association, and the Medical Royal Colleges are strongly opposed to legalising physician–assisted suicide. A key principle of professional medical ethics, reflected in the criminal law, is that doctors should never intentionally shorten life.
“Once you concede a principle and cross a line in ethics and law, it is wishful thinking to imagine that bad consequences can be averted merely by qualifications, conditions, or procedures. In the small number of jurisdictions where assisted suicide has been legalised or where it is not prosecuted under certain conditions – Holland, and a handful of states in the USA – there is ample evidence that the safeguards don't work.”