Press Release

Response to today’s High Court ruling in Noel Conway assisted suicide case

5 October 2017         Issued by: Christian Legal Centre

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, has welcomed today’s High Court ruling in the case of Noel Conway.

Mr Conway had been granted permission by the Court of Appeal after his initial attempt to change the law on assisted suicide was rejected.

Responding to the ruling, Andrea Williams said:

“We welcome today’s decision.

“These cases are always emotive because all of us want to be kind in the face of human suffering.

“It is vital, however, that we do not lose sight of the key principles at stake, and the implications of any court decision on other people.

“It certainly wouldn’t be compassionate to allow any weakening of the protection that the current law provides.

“Assisted suicide is wrong in principle. A civilised society does not legislate for the killing of its citizens, especially its most vulnerable. It uses the law to uphold their dignity and to offer the highest protection.

“As well as the principle, in practice, it isn’t possible to design suitable protections to make sure that sick, elderly, unwell, depressed or lonely people are not put at risk or put under pressure.

“As the courts have made clear in the past, the law on assisted suicide is an issue for Parliament, not the courts.

“And Parliament has been clear. Just two years ago, the House of Commons looked very carefully at the issue, considered all the arguments, and then voted by an overwhelming majority against the proposed liberalisation of the law.

“Rather than pushing for assisted suicide, which raises huge ethical issues and would be a dangerous move, society should be investing in research into underlying conditions and even better palliative care than we have today.

“Sadly, however, this may not be the last time that assisted suicide is examined by the courts.

“There is a determined assisted suicide lobby that is desperate to change the law by whatever means it can find, despite rejection by Parliament and the courts.

“Assisted suicide campaigners repeatedly bring high profile cases to court to pressure Parliament to change the law.

“Having lost the argument in Parliament two years ago, assisted suicide campaigners have signalled that they will refocus their attention on the courts.

“This relentless challenge must be resisted and we must continue to be vigilant.

“The current law tempers justice with mercy and provides essential safeguards against abuse. We mustn’t allow those safeguards to be undermined.”

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