Slippery slope

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I understand on the substance of Paul Brownsey’s point (Letters, 27 November) that he may wish to package the
proposals for assisted suicide in as agreeable a language as

However, for the sake of
clarity, I think stating that it is about legally sanctioning the death of a person should not be lost in the analysis. In principle, I believe that is enough to make the proposal unacceptable.

I accept that he and V Denyer (Letters, same day) disagree with me on that point.

To them I would argue that the tool they wish to make available is just too dangerous to be used in the narrow circumstances they support without it spilling over in to forms of killing that they would not support.

It would be very possible to manipulate a vulnerable person into the system. Our laws should protect the vulnerable.

Studies in Holland also show that once ending a patient’s life is deemed as a means of helping them it is used even when not requested.

It is easy to see how a
doctor could think “why am I not
allowed to help this patient as I have others?” Hippocratic oaths may no longer be taken, as V Denyer points out, but the human rights regimes for protecting human life, following the
lessons of the Second World War, serve the same purpose. The proposal for dismantling these is too high a price to pay.

John Deighan

Catholic Parliamentary Office

St Vincent Place


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