Statement: Assisted Dying Bill

published on 17 Jul 2014

The Salvation Army has signed a letter along with other faith groups to oppose the Assisted Dying Bill, a Private Member’s Bill that has been brought before the UK Parliament by Lord Falconer, the Former Lord Chancellor.    

The law change proposes to allow doctors to prescribe a lethal dose to terminally-ill patients judged to have less than six months to live.  

While we recognise and understand the anxieties people face regarding the end of their life and the care they will receive, this Bill would allow individuals to participate actively in ending others’ lives and we believe this is not the way a compassionate and caring society should behave.  

It is The Salvation Army’s conviction that anyone in need should be offered compassionate, comprehensive and effective care to the end. In so doing, the patient’s dignity and self-worth are maintained and positive feelings are encouraged in those who will be bereaved by their passing.  

In spite of safeguards, euthanasia is associated with gross abuses and distrust fostered within families and between patients and their doctors. For many reasons, coercion occurs and patients feel guilty if they do not comply. The “right to die” becomes a “duty to die”.  

For these reasons, The Salvation Army opposes any proposal to legalise euthanasia.  

Instead, we urge resources be invested to meet the mental, physical and spiritual needs of all patients and their loved ones. Research into pain control and other aspects of palliative care for the chronically and terminally ill is paramount. The provision of skilled nursing is an essential part of the management of serious illness. Development of home-care facilities and the hospice programme is a requirement for providing the necessary support for patients in need and would allay present fears.

Read the full Faith Leaders' Statement and Signatories  here