Pro-life campaigners in Ireland are preparing for the battle to introduce assisted suicide into Irish law in the coming weeks.
Right-to-die campaigners have drafted a Bill which they intend to present to the Irish parliament in a bid to allow someone to assist in the death of another person for the first time. Although the actually wording of the Bill has not yet been seen, it is reported that it would allow a right to die only to people over the age of 18 who have permanent and life-ending illnesses.
Other so-called safeguards are also said to be included, such as the provision that of the two doctors involved, one must be independent and not the doctor providing long-time care to the patient. The person in question must have the legal capacity to make the request themselves without help or pressure from any other person.
Of course, pro-life supporters are well aware that there are no “safeguards” which can be satisfactorily relied upon to protect vulnerable people where assisted suicide is concerned. We only have to look to other countries to see the abuses that have happened, and the way in which unwell and elderly people come to see themselves as a burden on their own family. It is far too easy for societies to come to see assisted suicide and euthanasia as something acceptable, instead of the life-ending option that it really represents.
This latest attempt to introduce a right to die is being brought by Tom Curran, whose partner Marie died in 2013 after a failed court battle to secure a right to be helped to die. Also working on the campaign is Gail O’Rorke who was recently acquitted of helping her friend take her own life.
While Tom Curran has said that he feels that the Bill would apply to only “a very limited number of people”, and that the vulnerable would be protected, this is not taking into account the reality of assisted suicide throughout the world. Official reports suggest that the majority of all euthanasia deaths are involuntary ie the patient does not make an independent, informed decision to opt for euthanasia.
This talk of a new Irish law also comes hot on the heels of the majority vote against assisted suicide which took place in Scotland earlier this week.
The Assisted Suicide Bill would have allowed those with terminal illnesses to seek the help of doctors to end their own lives. Instead, it was voted down by 82 votes to 36. This was the second time that the Scottish Parliament have ruled out assisted suicide.
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
During the debate, Scotland’s Health Secretary Shona Robison commented that the Bill had insufficient safeguards and that instead, “everyone should receive high-quality palliative care. We must focus on that”.
Many will feel that this high-quality palliative care should be the focal point of the healthcare system for the terminally ill in Ireland, rather than an unseemly campaign to introduce a law which would allow a right to die.
The Pro Life Campaign has been preparing for this new push for assisted suicide by supporting the launch of a new organization called Hope Ireland, which is an affiliate of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. Hope Ireland will be launched at the Hope Conference which will take place in Dublin on 6th June. This will be a day-long conference where a number of high-profile expert speakers will address various aspects of the euthanasia campaign.
More information about Hope Ireland is available here.