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Assisted Dying - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:57 pm on 6th March 2017.

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Photo of Lord Carey of Clifton Lord Carey of Clifton Crossbench 7:57 pm, 6th March 2017

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, for introducing this debate, but what can one say in one minute? For me the fundamental issue that underlies this debate is that of autonomy or, to put it differently, human rights which enable us as individuals to determine the manner of our own death. It was central to the argument of Kay Carter in Canada and Brittany Maynard in the state of California. It will, I dare say, be a central argument for the case launched in this country by Noel Conway.

As a Christian leader, although I acknowledge that I am out of step with my Church and mainstream Christian Churches, it is love and compassion together with personal autonomy that has led me to identify with this struggle. For all its claims, medical science cannot deal with many cases of intractable pain and suffering, and least of all the indignity that often accompanies them. The example of Canada and other countries shows that laws can be made that protect the most vulnerable and therefore halt the unnecessary prolongation of life which, for some, is not worth the candle.