Laws are more than just regulatory instruments: they send social messages
In an article in The Daily Telegraph on the day Parliament debated Rob Marris MP’s Assisted Dying Bill, Dominic Grieve MP (Attorney-General for England and Wales from 2010 to 2014) argues that the existing criminal law in this area is in line with social attitudes to suicide – that, while we are not judgemental about it in individual cases, suicide itself is not something to be encouraged or assisted. He concludes: “The present law and its application, like all human constructs, cannot be perfect. No law can be. But it fulfils the role that was intended for it – it deters malicious assistance with suicide while showing understanding and clemency in compassionate cases. It exists, not to give options and choices to some, but to provide protection for all. We tinker with it at our peril”.