Royal Geographical Society
Tuesday October 19th, 2010
Doors open at 6:00 pm. The event starts at 6:45 pm and finishes at 8:30pm
“The law allows me to kill myself, but what if I have a progressive illness and reach a stage when I long to end my life but cannot do so unaided. Isn’t it needlessly cruel and illogical that as the law stands, no friend or family member or doctor can then help me die without risking prosecution and a possible jail sentence? No it isn’t, say those who oppose legalising assisted suicide. Think of the pressures that would build once it became a legally sanctioned option – not least the pressure to extend the category of those whom it is permissible to help kill beyond the terminally ill to the old, the frail and even the mildly depressed. Think of the internal and external pressure on elderly relatives to seek assistance for an early exit so as to avoid being a burden and using up the family inheritance; or the pressure on the NHS to create more bed space.
Would it not be better, say opponents of legalisation, to retain the kind of fudge we’ve got at the moment, allowing the Director of Public Prosecutions to give a nod and a wink to assisted suicide unless he suspects foul play? Or is that just a recipe for the very uncertainty – and attendant misery – that gives rise to such passionate calls for a change in the law in the first place?”
Speakers for the motion: Professor Emily Jackson, Debbie Purdy, Baroness Warnock
Speakers against the motion: Lord Carlile, Baroness Finlay, Professor Richard Harries
Chair: Sue Lawley