Dignity in Dying: Assisted dying would “reduce the number of suicides”
20 December 2016
Not Dead Yet campaigned against the Marris Bill- MPs recognised that assisted suicide put vulnerable people in danger.
Dignity in Dying, which was formerly called the the Voluntary Euthanasia Legalisation Society, has said that terminally ill people who wish to end their lives "are not suicidal" and legalising assisted dying would "reduce the number of people who take their own lives".
The remarks were made in a submission to a Health Select Committee on suicide.
Unacceptable scale of suicide
In an interim report, the committee found that the "scale of avoidable loss of life by suicide is unacceptable" and made recommendations to inform suicide prevention strategy. The Committee noted that media guidelines relating to the reporting of suicide are being widely ignored.
Media portrayals endangering the vulnerable
Care Not Killing Alliance (CNK), which campaigns against the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide, noted in their submission that depictions of assisted suicide in the media, (eg a storyline in Coronation Street) give credence to dangerous myths about death and dying, and that damaging media portrayals of suicide put vulnerable people in danger.
In contrast to Dignity in Dying, CNK made the point that "suicidal tendencies in people with terminal or incurable illnesses and disabilities should not be seen as different from those in other people". The submission also argued that the campaign to legalise assisted suicide has fundamentally altered public perceptions about the acceptability of suicide.
Suicide prevention for everyone
CNK urged the Committee "to consider what message would be sent to people vulnerable to suicidal tendencies if assisted suicide legislation were to be passed by Parliament" and said that "suicide prevention must be for all, without discrimination on the basis of illness or disability. All people must be affirmed, cared for and protected until natural death."
Ireland to appeal ruling on meaning of "unborn"
The state of Ireland has filed a notice of appeal against a significant High Court Judgement which found that the word "unborn" in the Constitution means an unborn child, with rights beyond the right to life.
The judgement made by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys in an immigration case has raised concerns that there are now apparently conflicting decisions from the High Court on the extent of the constitutional rights of unborn babies.
Rape clause for abortion in Ireland "won't work"
The head of Rape Crisis Network Ireland has said that allowing abortion specifically in cases of rape would be unworkable.
Clíona Saidléar, the group's executive director, said women should not have to prove they had been raped to access an abortion if the pro-life Eighth Amendment was repealed. Instead, she argued that abortion should be legalised on mental health grounds.
The grave difficulties of legislating for abortion solely in the case of rape was also highlighted in SPUC's submission to the Citizen’s Assembly, which is currently discussing abortion in Ireland. "No one pressing for the removal of the Eighth Amendment has been able to show how the complex legal problems surrounding the issues of rape, statutory rape, consent and mental capacity can be dealt with without the legalisation of abortion on demand."