Another ‘assisted dying’ bill: Careful analysis needed.

Lord Falconer has presented his long-heralded Private Member’s Bill to Parliament

Lord Falconer’s long-heralded bill to legalise physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill and mentally competent people has now been laid before Parliament.

Changing the law to license doctors to supply lethal drugs to some of their patients would represent a major change to the criminal law of this country. Before Parliament could consider making such a change, it would need to be persuaded that the law as it stands is not fit for purpose and, if that is the case, that what would be put in its place would be better and safer – safer, that is, for all seriously ill people rather than for a minority who may be completely clear about wanting to end their lives prematurely.

As we concluded in our February 2012 report “Considering the Evidence”, Lord Falconer’s ‘commission on assisted dying’ failed to provide convincing evidence that the law as it stands is in need of change. Be that as it may, his bill should be studied with care and with strict regard for the evidence. Living and Dying Well will be doing just that and making known its verdict of whether the bill passes the public safety test.