Scope comment on assisted suicide debate in Parliament
27 March 2012
Commenting on a debate in Parliament on assisted suicide, Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of the disability charity Scope, said:
"We strongly oppose any moves to weaken the law on assisted suicide. The assisted suicide debate touches on hugely complex, emotional issues – not least how society values disabled people’s lives. Sadly some people assume disabled people’s lives aren’t worth living. And not every disabled person is in a position to argue that it is.
"The current law protects disabled people against these assumptions leading to anything worse – such as pressure to commit suicide. Many disabled people tell us that even though they might consider, in extreme circumstances, ending their lives, this is outweighed by a real concern about the consequences of any weakening of these safeguards.
"These concerns can get lost amid the din of high-profile advocates of legalising assisted suicide.
"As Parliament debates this issue today, we urge parliamentarians to also listen to the voices of disabled people. Their voices may not be as powerful as those who advocate legalising assisted suicide, but that must not diminish the importance or the significance of their concerns."