Objecting to assisted dying bill
The Christian community in the West Midlands have written a powerful open letter expressing their objection to the assisted dying bill put forward by a local MP
The letter to Wolverhampton MP Rob Marris, whose bill will be debated in the House of Commons on Friday (11 September) highlighted concerns that while the bill has a “noble aim, it has the potential to introduce “far worse consequences for our society in the years to come.”
It was published in the Express & Star, the UK's biggest-selling regional evening newspaper, and signed by 36 faith leaders, including the Revd Adrian Argile, Regional Minister Team Leader of the Heart of England Baptist Association.
Currently the law values” every life as intrinsically worthy of our protection”, the faith leaders stated. If passed, the Assisted Dying Bill will protect the practitioners of assisted dying and removes legal protection from “those who most need it; the sick, the weak, the disabled.” That is why it has been opposed by “every disability group in the country.”
There has been a steady increase in euthanasia in all the countries where comparable laws have been introduced, the faith leaders continued, citing statistics the Netherlands, Belgium and the US state of Oregon.
The bill will also create “very unhealthy tensions between patients and their carers,”, as well as introduce dangers in seeking to measure “how ‘terminal’ ‘terminal’ really is.”
The Revd Jonathan Somerville, minister of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Wolverhampton, helped to co-ordinate the letter and was another signatory alongside his colleague the Revd Hannah Colk.
There were also representations from many denominations in the region, including the Revd Steve Faber, Moderator-Elect of the West Midlands Synod of the United Reformed Church; the Revd John Howard, chair of Wolverhampton & Shrewsbury Methodist District; Bishop David McGough, Roman Catholic bishop for Wolverhampton; and Pastor Emmanuel Kapofu of the International Life Centre.
Mr Marris introduced the bill in June after a similar bill put forward by Lord Falconer ran out of time before the general election.
The proposed new law would enable patients with less than six months to live to be prescribed a lethal dose of drugs on the authority of two doctors.