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Disability group condemns euthanasia inquiry guillotine

18 July 2003

Disability group condemns euthanasia inquiry guillotine Westminster, 18 July 2003--A group representing disabled people has condemned as "scandalous" the extremely short time allowed for giving evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into the government's proposals to legalise euthanasia by neglect. The Joint Select Committee on the Draft Mental Incapacity Bill has issued a call for evidence to be submitted to it no later than 1 September. Alison Davis, the spokeswoman for the disability group, No Less Human1, commented: "It is scandalous that such a controversial issue of public concern as euthanasia by the deliberate starvation, dehydration and neglect of disabled people is being rushed through and buried during the summer recess, when not only most parliamentarians but countless concerned individuals will be away on holiday from tomorrow. Thankfully today one MP from the government's benches has warned that 'an increasing number of disabled and sick people are frightened to be admitted to hospital because of the euthanasia campaign'."2 SPUC political secretary Anthony Ozimic commented: "The government's Mental Incapacity Bill applies to any adult who is mentally incapacitated and will therefore affect every single person in this country, because everyone is vulnerable to accidents or illnesses that may cause mental incapacity. The bill's radical proposals include using a system of living wills and unqualified, unaccountable attorneys to force doctors to kill by withdrawing life-sustaining treatment and care. "If passed, the Bill will be the first comprehensive law in the world allowing euthanasia by neglect and may become a model for all common-law countries. "Surely the government already has precious little parliamentary time to deal with its existing legislative priorities to be experimenting with complex and controversial legislation which will radically distort the whole medico-legal regime for the welfare of vulnerable patients? "Despite the disgraceful guillotine imposed on this inquiry, pro-life and disability-rights activists will launch a concerted campaign to fight the Bill tooth-and-nail." * A division of SPUC. * Press release by John McFall MP, 17 July 2003,

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