Archbishop Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark has issued the following statement today, on behalf of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, in response to the Falconer Report on Assisted Dying.
“Many people have understandably questioned the credibility of the Falconer commission. Its set-up was promoted by Dignity in Dying (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society), it was bankrolled by one of that organisation's Patrons, and three quarters of its members, including Lord Falconer himself, are on the public record as supporting the legalisation of assisted suicide. It will have come as little surprise to many that they have recommended a regime for legalised assisted suicide that is even laxer than the one proposed by Lord Joffe six years ago - which was roundly defeated in Parliament.
“I have been impressed and heartened by the wide range of thoughtful critical responses to the report, particularly from those with disabilities, and medical and legal experts of all faiths and none. They are right to point out that to legalise is to normalise, and that our society cannot change such a fundamental law which is
there to protect the vulnerable without grave long term consequences. We must do more to care well for those who are dying, and support more and better hospice and palliative care. Legalising assisted suicide is not the answer.”
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