Assisted Suicide Debate – Bishop of Bristol Warns Against Change in the Law

The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill spoke during Baroness Jay’s question for short debate assessing the Director of Public Prosecutions Guidelines for prosecution for assisted suicide. The Bishop highlighted number of cases which have been inspected by the DPP and the need to prevent the original intention of legislation gradually slipping into a very different definition and drew attention to the case of Belgium where the law to allow assisted suicide has been recently extended to include terminally ill children. Lord Faulks responded to the debate for the Government and made no new legislativee commitments.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they continue to be satisfied with the Director of Public Prosecutions’ Guidelines on prosecution for assisted suicide.

14.03 Bishop of BristolThe Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I add my own voice of gratitude to the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, for introducing the debate tonight. The DPP’s guidelines rightly give a central place to compassion in this vexed area. After more than 150 cases have been actively inspected by the DPP, it should now be clear to all that where a suffering patient wishes freely and without coercion to end their life, their family or friends who, motivated wholly by compassion, assist him or her to do so will not be prosecuted. There are many reasons for not moving beyond that legal position as some other countries have, but I shall refer to just one. Continue reading “Assisted Suicide Debate – Bishop of Bristol Warns Against Change in the Law”

Bishop of Wakefield takes part in debate on assisted suicide

On 5th December 2013, the Bishop of Wakefield took part in a debate on assisted suicide. The Bishop of Derby also spoke during the debate – his comments can be read here.

Bishop Stephen Platten
Bishop Stephen Platten

The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, I imagine that after clinicians, clergy—of a variety of faiths—are those who have the most frequent experience of being alongside those who are terminally ill and dying. That gives clergy no privilege in our opinions, but it does offer us a unique set of experiences in the care and support of the dying.

Part of that support, from all concerned in such caring, is reassurance to those who are terminally ill. The framing of the present law is integral to such reassurance. Fears of being a family burden, uncertainty about one’s own self-worth or society’s pressures on limited resources can undermine the feelings of the terminally ill. That calls out of us compassion. Choice is a two-edged sword.

Continue reading “Bishop of Wakefield takes part in debate on assisted suicide”

Bishop of Derby speaks during debate on assisted suicide

On 5th December 2013, the Bishop of Derby spoke during a debate on assisted suicide. The Bishop of Wakefield also spoke in the debate – his speech can be read here.

Bishop of DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, two quotations. John Donne:

“No man is an island”.

and the Book of Job:

“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away”.

Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks during debate on assisted suicide”