The current effort to “clarfiy” the law on assisted suicides will attain the opposite of its intention. The intention is to make society more humane, and promote human rights, by making it clear the boundaries for assisting loved ones who clearly wish to take their own life. An the boundary will be laid in such a way that they will no longer face prosecution. However, what of those who are pushed into it. The elderly parent going senile, or with degenerating physical condition. Will the onus be on them to go quickly rather than ruin the best year’s of their children’s lives? Or will they be feel pressurised or morally obliged to go, rather than exhaust their children’s inheritance in a care home?
Our laws are influenced by our moral environment, but they also influence it. It is better to leave alone, with the understanding that clear cases of compassionate assistance in suicide are not prosecuted. But the unspoken understanding is that if there is a suspicion of undue pressure, then the full weight of the law can be unambigously applied, without necessity of proving that pressure. This is both compassionate and just.
Maybe Nadine Dorries is right, in principle, in saying this issue should go before Parliament. But Parliament is so weakenened at present that it will be whipped into place on the whim of the spin doctors. And those spin doctors like rules & regulations.