11:53am Wednesday 10th October 2012 in Letters
MORE than 200 British citizens, most with conditions that cause unbearable suffering, have now travelled to Switzerland to secure medical help to die. Every month others follow.
But what of those who don’t have the money, or the physical ability, or who don’t want their helpers to risk prosecution?
Right-to-die laws exist in a number of European countries, have very strong public support, and include effective safeguards that prevent abuse. A doctor who helped an elderly person to die because they were simply tired of life would risk prosecution.
At their party conference, Liberal Democrats supported my motion calling for Parliament to allow people with intolerable suffering to secure medical help to die here, in their own beds.
Of course, this is an issue that crosses the party divide and should always be a matter for a free vote, not a party whip, but someone has to take the lead.
The opponents of reform are compassionate people who want to ensure that the best care is available to all.
Palliative care in this country is generally good, and pain relief helps most people, but these are not options that will be chosen by everyone.
The wishes of competent adults should be respected.
To force someone experiencing unbearable suffering to stay alive against their will isn’t compassionate, it’s cruel.
CHRIS DAVIES Liberal Democrat MEP