British Parliament Takes Up Euthanasia Measure
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 15, 2004
LONDON, ENGLAND--Members of the House of Lords set up a select committee Wednesday to investigate a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide in the Britain.
The Patient Assisted Dying Bill, introduced by Lord Joffe, would make it legal for adults with a terminal illness to request medical help to kill themselves, as long as all other alternatives had been considered. Joffe claims that 80 percent of British people support assisted suicide.
Those who oppose legalizing euthanasia point to an April 2003 survey that found 74 percent of doctors would refuse to perform assisted suicide if it were legal, while 56 percent feel it would be "impossible to set safe bounds to euthanasia."
According to a February 1999 report published by the Journal of Medical Ethics, the Netherlands' inability to regulate euthanasia is evidence that assisted-suicide should not be legalized. The report stated that one in five cases of assisted suicide in Holland occurred without the patient's consent, and that in 17 percent of the cases, other treatment options were available. The survey also revealed that almost two-thirds of Holland's euthanasia cases in 1995 were not reported.
"The national organization of doctors says thousands of vulnerable people will die as long as physician-assisted suicide is permitted," the report states.
Dr. David Stevens, executive director of the Christian Medical & Dental Society commented on the report.
"With this kind of irresponsibility and neglect, who will ever know what really went on between a doctor and a patient when a patient is dead? If we can't even control the actions of one doctor -- Jack Kevorkian -- when physician-assisted suicide is illegal, how can we expect to regulate the actions of thousands of doctors where physician-assisted suicide is legal?"
"The Holland experience with euthanasia is one we can't afford to repeat," Stevens added.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian was convicted in 1999 and sentenced to prison terms of 10 to 25 years for second-degree murder and seven years for delivering a controlled substance. The crusader for physician-assisted suicide claimed that he "assisted" more than 130 people to die. He was finally stopped after he sent a video-tape of the "mercy killing" of Thomas Youk to the television news magazine "60 minutes" for national broadcast.
Investigations later revealed that most of those were not in the final stages of terminal illness, but had disabilities or were afraid of becoming disabled.
"UK Mulls Legalized Euthanasia - Committee Investigates Possibilities" (LifeSite.Net)
"Lords probe right to die"(Daily Post)
"Jack Kevorkian: Dr. Death" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)