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Forget about Assisted Dying: what about Assisted Living?

18 July 2014

By the time most readers see this, the House of Lords will have formed a view about Assisted Dying. Some Anglican bishops have got wonderfully on-the-one-hand/on-the-other about it. They seem to want dying assisted, but only a little bit. The Bishop of Carlisle feels that judges, rather than doctors, should decide whether someone has the right to be helped to take his or her own life. Thus do the most enlightened persons inadvertently advocate the return of the death penalty. I hope that when the bishop’s judges perform this task, they will be made to wear the traditional black cap.

If I were in the House of Lords, I would bring in an Assisted Living Bill. It would make it compulsory for all those seeking an abortion to entertain an offer for their baby from approved prospective adoptive parents. No money would be paid. Rather, the abortion-seeking mother — or couple — would have to meet the baby-seekers at least twice and be asked to consider a formal offer, which would include evidence of how the future child would be provided for. Forced to think of the foetus as a living person in this way, many of those exercising the ‘right to choose’ might, after all, choose life.

This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Notes in this week’s Spectator.

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  • Stereotomy

    What a non-sensical suggestion. “Forced to think of the foetus as a living person” — is the foetus a living person?

    If it is a living person, then abortion is murder and should be illegal, so a law that says “Yes you can do it, as long as you follow this flimsy safeguard” would be completely wrong. And if the foetus ISN’T a living person, then why on earth would the government want to convince people that it is?

    So, depending on your view of whether a foetus is a person, either this bill would be sanctioning murder, or it would be pointlessly wasting people’s time in order to deceive them.

  • AndrewMelville

    What vile toad, Moore is.

  • JoeDM

    Decisions like this need to be based on rational arguments and not on two thousand year old ritual superstition and myth.

  • Gizzard Puke

    I agree with Norman on most things but have no cast-iron opinions on assisted suicide it’s a very complex issue.

  • artful

    I agree with Norman Tebitt about it being a vulture breeding ground. Its murder pure and simple.

  • Steve Smith

    Did Charles Moore really just describe C of E Bishops as “the most enlightened persons”?

  • dado_trunking

    I thoroughly despise how everything cultural from Holland or Switzerland just enters this country unquestioned. It escapes me how this would conform with British Values. What next – will they force chocolate containing actual cocoa on us, will we be made to run two thirds of our schools privately?

  • ohforheavensake

    An assisted living bill would formally outlaw Iain Duncan Smith from the DWP.

  • nana

    The Liverpool Care Pathway where doctors,assisted by nurses removed people without telling what safeguards? this bill will make the elderly,the disabled,or families who have a child with disabilities feel that they are worthless,a burden upon the state.perhaps it’s time to make the Members of The House of Lords
    fully elected.we can then ‘terminate’ them through the ballot box.

  • Emulous

    Can Doctors tell us when the terminal phase of an illness has been reached?
    We all know instances of when they have been way out on this.
    Before the Liverpool Death Pathway was abolished we read daily in the paper of patients who lived to leave hospital, including not a few who went on to live healthy useful lives with their families for months or even years.

  • telemachus

    I posted last Saturday:
    “The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken out in opposition of assisted suicide, claiming that legalising it would leave a “sword of Damocles” hanging over the heads of “every vulnerable, terminally-ill person in the country.”
    We need to think long and hard before sanctioning what is in effect state sponsored killing

    • davidofkent

      For a change, this is a subject on which I agree with you. I’m also heartily fed up with people calling this a ‘right to die’ Bill. It is no such thing. It is a ‘right not to be prosecuted for helping somebody to die’ Bill. Hard Cases Make Bad Law. There will be unintended consequences if this Bill succeeds, but it will not be a surprise to me.

    • Alexsandr

      But this isnt only a religious thing. I think the archbish is right, but I am an atheist.

  • Kitty MLB

    Oh I certainly agree with this. We are speaking in regards to
    whether someone has the right to drift off this mortal coil
    at their own chosing.And yet some babies never have the chance
    of any type of life because some mothers decide they are not ready to have chidren .I cannot help smelling the whiff of
    hypocrisy with this subject in its entirety.

    • telemachus

      It is a mistake to conflate these 2 very different issues
      The current bill is a charter for legacy hungry relatives, feed the guilt of the elderly who feel a burden and puts doctors in a very difficult position with effects ensuing in their own lives

    • HookesLaw

      As tele says these are two different issues. Moore is a grade A idiot. Abortion is a tradgedy. But its always been with us.

      • Alexsandr

        assisted dying will be a tragedy too.

  • Terence Hale

    Mr. Webber’s revelation just indicate the dilemma of law. Be it mental disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, alcoholism, or drug abuse, stress factors such as financial difficulties or troubles with interpersonal relationships, harakiri is not always the way out. In my opinion to legalize death is wrong which make the state open to the responsibility of killing people and its liability.

    • Colonel Mustard

      ‘Harakiri’ is not ‘assisted dying’ and as a euphemism for ‘assisted suicide’ is not appropriate either. It is a coarse term meaning ‘disembowelment’ with a sword, literally ‘belly cut’, also called ‘seppuku’. Instigation or assistance in suicide is ‘jisatsu kanyo’ and the crime of aiding and abetting suicide is ‘jisatsu houjo’.

    • Jack

      What about agonizing terminal illness, or dementia? At the minute the state makes people die screaming.

  • Magnolia

    Yes, good stuff.
    Look at what happens when you trade with the dev*l, and I include Russia in that.
    When I was younger and tramping the wards back in the eighties, patients were given adequate pain relief as they lay dying. The consultants wrote up an increasing drug regime that kept the patient comfortable. Usually the patient wold cease suffering very soon afterwards. Then everyone got upset and doctors got reported for killing their patients. Now no-one would dare to act in this way, so we have this push to legalise the messy business of near death suffering in to death. Once again in our country the state and the lawyers want to grab a bit of power that used to be the preserve of a profession having first taken it away by criminalising the right of doctors to practise according to the hippocratic oath.

    • DavidL

      Surely the purpose of Lord Falconer’s Bill is not to take power from the profession and give it to the state, but rather to give it to the individual.

      • Magnolia

        That is what will be argued but it will be a rights driven process underpinned by the state and the lawyers rather than merely a professional judgement that could be held up to the scrutiny of those concerned, professional bodies and society in general.
        We all know that the old and frail will be signing their own death warrants based on a feeling that they should do their ‘duty’ and cease to be a ‘burden’ on the young and that would also include their own family.
        Once there is a ‘right’ to die then there will be the expectation that that ‘right’ be used.
        The similarities with abortion are apposite.

        • HookesLaw

          The proposal is for people who are diagnised with only 6 months to live. This does not fit in with anything you say. Once dignosed this does not mean that the patient would take his/her own life immediately (even if they wished) – but that once and if a condition became intolerable they could be assisted to what they considered a merciful death. There is no framework to suggest that the notion of being a ‘burden’ would come into play.

          • Colonel Mustard

            What is intended by a law and its consequences are seldom identical. The capability of drafting good law in this country is long gone.

          • Alexsandr

            the 6 month to live went well with al mcgrachi didnt it?

          • Magnolia

            Any doctor who tells you how long you have to live is lying.
            It is the first rule of hospice care that it is pretty much impossible to know when a patient will die unless there is medical intervention to determine it.
            There can be informed guesses but it would be impossible to correctly identify those with only six months to live.
            Living a so-called ‘normal’ life can be quite hard and how soon do you think it would be before those who merely found their lives ‘intolerable’ would be demanding the right to be put to sleep.

      • HookesLaw

        How does it take power from the individual when it is based on an informed request by the dying patient? There is no logic to what you say.

        • Alexsandr

          you clearly have never been around someone dying who was always subservient in life. I have. I know I could easily have persuaded her that a nice injection would be the best way, knowing it was costing her inheritance £500 a week. But of course I didnt and wouldn’t. But some will. Doctors and relatives.

  • Fergus Pickering

    I like it, Charles. I like it.

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