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”