Misgivings over assisted dying

The Oxford Times: Andrew Smith MP Andrew Smith MP

OXFORD East MP Andrew Smith yesterday raised concerns about legalising assisted dying after two senior clergymen signalled their support.

The Labour MP said there needs to be a “national discussion of the wider implications” with a look at countries where assisted dying is allowed.

It comes after a U-turn by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey who spoke of the “reality of needless suffering”.

Then former Anglican Archbishop of South Africa Desmond Tutu, said: “I revere the sanctity of life – but not at any cost.”

But Mr Smith said: “I really do worry about bringing about a culture where vulnerable or elderly people might feel they are a burden and under some obligation to opt for assisted dying.’’ Oxford West and Abingdon Conservative MP Nicola Blackwood said: “Few of us can wholly understand the suffering of those who wish to end their pain but are unable to do so.

“I do, however, have grave misgivings about whether assisted dying laws would create a climate in which vulnerable, ill people may feel they must do the 'right' thing by family members and end it all even if it is not genuinely their wish.”

Oxford Islamic Information Centre director Dr Sheikh Hojjat Ramzy said: “In Islam, as it is in Christianity, life is given and taken by God alone. Life is not something we have the freedom to do away with when we please.”

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