Incoherent law

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Whatever else Lord Falconer’s assisted dying bill may 
accomplish, it has exposed serious fault lines in Britain’s caring professions including the medical services and the national churches.

John Ashton and Richard Thompson, respectively presidents of the Faculty of Public Health and the Royal College of Physicians, cannot be dismissed as fringe non-entities.

Nor is it possible to regard former Archbishops Desmond Tutu and George Carey as figures exercising no influence within the mainline churches north and south of the Border.

The fact is the present law is incoherent with little sympathy for the significant number of dying people who have intolerable suffering which cannot be relieved by palliative care.

The alternatives are slow death by starvation/dehydration, premature flights to Zurich, lonely, often botched, attempts at suicide or the assistance of loved ones who face prosecution.

The bill is supported by 80 per cent of the population but its opponents still spread confusion and disseminate inaccuracies about the results in countries where the law has been reformed.

It is an idea whose time has come which will bring aid in dying out of the back streets and make it just another end-of-life decision based on compassion, choice and safety.

(Rev Dr) John 
Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

I am so very tired of hearing people argue against brave and necessary proposed legislation (such as the assisted dying bill) by dragging out the tired old “but where will it end?” line.

The fact that we have been having this conversation for such a long time is proof, surely, that such laws will not be rushed through in the future.

GRAEME JONES

Brown Street

Edinburgh