13 May 2006

Lords kill assisted death bill

In a rare move by the House of Lords, the British Parliament's upper chamber has effectively killed a private member's bill that would have legalized assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Here is Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, on the bill:

Opposition to the principle of this Bill is not confined to people of religious conviction. It would be a lazy counter-argument to suggest that such opposition can be written off because it comes only from those committed to a world view not universally shared.

It remains true that to specify even in the fairly broad terms of this Bill conditions under which it would be both reasonable and legal to end your life, is to say that certain kinds of life are not worth living. We would jeopardise the security of the vulnerable in another way by radically changing the relationship between patient and physician.

Williams is correct, but there's one thing no one seems to mention in such debates: only in a society that has lost sight of sin and salvation can it be assumed that death ends suffering.

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