Peter Saunders from Christian Medical Fellowship is against the bill
We hope that MPs will reject this bill today.
We think that the current law which makes all assisted suicide illegal is both clear and right. It's not broken. It doesn’t need fixing.
Once you legalise assisted suicide for any group of people, you inevitably then place vulnerable people under pressure to end their lives out of fear of being a burden to carers, relatives, family or perhaps even a burden on a state short of resources.
We know from the experience we’ve seen in the US state of Washington - who have a law just like this - 6 out of 10 people end their lives and give the reason for fear of being a burden as one of the main things. Particularly at a time of economic recession, when many families are struggling, the health service budget is being cut and many people are under pressure the last thing we want is a law that adds to that pressure and has the effect of steering vulnerable people toward suicide as a treatment option.
Passing this law would give completely the wrong message to the public. It would promote the idea that accepting suicide as a solution for some of life’s problems is the way to go. What we should be providing is much better care and support.
This is the 11th time British Parliaments have considered this question in the last 12 years. On all the previous occasions its either been blocked, thrown out or has not progressed. Our hope is MPs will do exactly the same today and give this bill the short shrift it deserves. If MPs turn out in reasonable numbers, we should see this bill defeated. It’s not just Christians and people of faith who are opposing this. Many others do it because they understand the issue of vulnerability and they understand the importance of the law upholding public safety.
Peter Cronin-Hill from Dignity in Dying is for the bill
My mother had to starve herself to death. She was suffering from lots of mini strokes. Her Alzheimer's and strokes were getting worse by the day. She’d had stuff published on dementia and Alzheimer's. She knew where she was going. She was in pain so she decided she would kill herself.
My father who I met for the first time 10 years ago, 5 years ago asked me to kill him. He had cancer, it was excruciatingly painful. He was a very hard, strong man and he was crying. He just said please would you kill me. Of course I couldn’t.
I had pain in my heart. His pain was in his body. He was begging to die. Not very long after he did die. But the Morphine wasn’t touching the pain. Any drug he was given was not doing what it should do.
When someone is asking to die, the law stands as it is and they can’t. Why should [God] think anything bad? If an animal is suffering would you let it suffer? You can be prosecuted for letting an animal suffer.
I don’t believe there is a heaven or a hell. I do believe you can live in hell by the way you’re living [now]. I don’t think there’s a heaven to go to, but there is peace, and that peace can be for yourself and your loved ones. Lord Carey is voting for the bill. That is a man with great Christian beliefs. He believes this would not be wrong.
Peter Saunders and Peter Cronin-Hill were speaking to Premier Christian Radio's Antony Bushfield outside Parliament. For the latest Christian news listen to The News Hour every weekday from 1-2pm.