LETTER: Avoiding pain and suffering

Anyone would conclude from our MP’s arguments in her Parliamentary column of August 28 that assisted dying would become compulsory. Plenty of research now shows that by no means all acute pain and suffering can be alleviated by palliative care. Under the terms of the Bill, anyone so suffering would be able to continue living if they so wished. One is not in fact asking for much here: merely the wish not to be compelled to undergo such pain and suffering. I find it a matter of increasing arrogance on the part of the opposers of the Bill that they would insist on some people continuing with their suffering when the same opposers may never themselves be put to the literally agonising test.

The arguments against the Bill are always centred on those who are perceived to be vulnerable. If such exigencies exist, they are problems to be dealt with. They do not constitute an argument against the principle. Otherwise we might as well say that because 3,000 deaths occur each year through careless driving, all cars should be banned from the road.

Even allowing for generous margins of error, every opinion poll shows the overwhelming majority of us will find it a matter of considerable regret that Caroline Ansell intends to vote against the Assisted Dying Bill on September 11. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey changed his view on the matter. I urge Mrs Ansell to do the same. It is no exaggeration to contend that for her not to do so would be playing with people’s lives.

Edward Thomas

Collington Close

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