Labour plan to legalise euthanasia
9 April 2001
Labour plan to legalise euthanasia Westminster, 9 April 2001--Claims that the Labour party plans to legalise euthanasia in England and Wales should it win the general election have been greeted by concern but not surprise by Britain's longest-established pro-life group. A Labour party spokesman refused to confirm whether the party's manifesto would include a commitment to extending the Adults With Incapacity (Scotland) Act to other parts of the UK. Lord Irvine, the Lord Chancellor, said in 1999 that legislation to authorise euthanasia by neglect in England and Wales would be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allowed. Alison Davis, head of the handicap division of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said: "There is no doubt that the Scottish legislation has opened the door to allowing vulnerable people to become victims of euthanasia by neglect, and it would be extremely regrettable if it were applied to other parts of the UK as well. Under the Scottish law, doctors could be expected to kill an incapacitated patient by starvation and dehydration. This could be done both on those who have a terminal illness and on those who are not dying but are incapacitated, at the behest of a proxy who may not be aware of the medical situation. The proxy could even stand to benefit from the patient's death." Since May 1997, SPUC has warned of threats to human life posed by new anti-life legislation. The government has extended the availability of the abortion-inducing morning-after pill and provisions for destructive use of human embryos. It has also issued a white paper for England and Wales proposing that vulnerable and incapacitated people could be starved and dehydrated to death. The white paper would also allow doctors to disregard the health, and even the survival, of their patients. SPUC promotes the inherent value and dignity of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death. SPUC's anti-euthanasia campaign is spearheaded by its handicap division, which works to stop discrimination against disabled people both inside the womb and after birth.