Following a report to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Euthanasia Bill, Archbishop Peter Smith, Chairman of the Department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales issued the following statement today: Archbishop Smith said: "I look forward to reading the evidence submitted by Dr Biggs to the House of Lords Select Committee. It would be very alarming indeed if doctors in the UK are genuinely assisting suicides, but we need to be very careful before rushing to judgement about what exactly is happening. "The press reports I read simply referred to many cases where patients have 'had their end hastened'. This of itself does not necessarily mean the doctors are assisting suicide. It is perfectly legal - and morally justified - for doctors to give necessary pain relief when a person is terminally ill even though they foresee that it may shorten the person's life. This is not assisted suicide or euthanasia. "There are some in the pro-euthanasia lobby who deliberately seek to imply that the law is unclear and being widely flouted. In fact the law is clear, and should not be changed. The committee needs to find out whether or not the law is indeed being widely flouted. If it really is, then that is a matter of grave concern to us all. People who are terminally ill need to be cared for, not killed."
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