Dignity in Dying uses lack of police prosecution to push for euthanasia
13 January 2017
The Economist reports that although reported instances of people aiding someone in committing suicide have increased, the number of arrests and prosecutions have gone down. Euthanasia advocates Dignity in Dying say this means the law should be changed.
The Economist asked all police forces and the CPS for the number of recorded offences of aiding and abetting suicide they held from the start of 2010 to the end of September 2016, as well as how many people had been arrested and charged. In all, 83 separate offences were recorded across 43 police forces (six did not reply). From single digits between 2010 and 2013, the number of offences rose to 17 in 2014 and 23 in 2015. In the first nine months of last year 12 offences were recorded.
No charges since 2014&
In contrast, 17 arrests were made in 2010, 13 in 2015, and four arrests in the first nine months of 2016. During the period of nearly seven years, four people were charged with crimes; none has been since 2014.
We must protect vulnerable people
Dr Anthony McCarthy of SPUC said "The findings of the Economist make for depressing reading and reveal that despite an increasing number of assisted suicides prosecutions are very rarely pursued. Unsurprisingly Dignity in Dying, with the uncritical assistance of The Economist,exploits such news as a way of achieving assisted suicide (and eventually euthanasia) by the back door. We call upon those in the medical profession and all involved with law enforcement to uphold and not to undermine laws protecting vulnerable human beings. Parliament very recently overwhelmingly rejected the Marris Bill on assisted suicide. Groups like Dignity in Dying may be able to use The Economist as a mouthpiece, but they represent a threat to the law of the land, and to ill and depressed people and to their loved ones who may feel under pressure to help arrange their suicides. Those who would normalise assisted suicide betray not only those physically ill people who do not currently value their own lives but also all of those tempted to choose 'conventional' suicide, which seems to increase, and not diminish, where assisted suicide is legalised."
Government planning to reform SRE in schools
The government has said it has its own plans to reform Sex and Relationship Education (SRE), after Conservative MPs voted to block plans for it to be made compulsory in schools.
Debating the matter in Parliament this week, 5 MPs tabled an amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill to make lessons on sex and relationships education, same-sex relationships, sexual consent, sexual violence and domestic violence mandatory in all UK schools.
In a vote of ten Conservative and five Labour MPs, the amendment was rejected - with the vote divided along party lines.
However, the threat that sex education could be made a compulsory subject in schools still remains a real danger, says Antonia Tully of SPUC Safe at School.
"Although MPs voted out a clause in the Children and Social bill aimed at making sex education compulsory, it is still unclear exactly what the government intends to do," said Mrs Tully.
SPUC is urging parents to write to their MP to oppose any move to make sex education a statutory school subject.
"It is misleading to suggest that forcing every child to have explicit sex education lessons will protect them from sexual violence and exploitation", continued Mrs Tully. "The best people to keep children safe are their parents. And there are no proposals before parliament to promote parents as the experts in their child's sexual education."