Assisted suicide

Professor John Wyatt explains why Christians ought to be against this

photo: iStock

photo: iStock

In September, the MP Rob Marris will introduce a Private Members Bill into the House of Commons.

It is designed to allow doctors to assist in the suicide of patients with a terminal illness who have less than six months to live. Those in favour of this Bill argue that it will allow a small number of determined individuals who wish to kill themselves to be given a medically and legally approved method to achieve their wishes.

Support and wording

There is no doubt that there seems to be widespread public support for a change in the law, although in public surveys the percentage in favour changes dramatically depending on the wording of the question.

Lord Carey, former archbishop of the Church of England, has added his voice in favour of a change in the law. Speaking in a debate in the House of Lords in 2014, he said that he had changed his previous opposition to assisted suicide. ‘When suffering is so great that some patients, already knowing that they are at the end of life, make repeated pleas to die, it seems a denial of that loving compassion which is the hallmark of Christianity to refuse to allow them to fulfil their own clearly stated request– after, of course, a proper process of safeguards has been observed. If we truly love our neighbours as ourselves, how can we deny them the death that we would wish for ourselves in such a condition? That is what I would want… .’

Best compassionate response?

Lord Carey and others are arguing that Christian believers have a duty to provide the option of a quick and painless suicide for those who request it at the end of life. The emotional power of Carey’s words are obvious. Both Christian teaching and common humanity demand that we respond with… (to read more click here)

John Wyatt is Emeritus Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics at University College London. His book Matters of Life and Death is published by IVP. Finishing Line, a series of five Bible discussions for church groups or individuals, is published jointly by Keswick Resources and CARE. His new book ‘Right to Die – euthanasia, assisted suicide and end of life care’ was published by IVP in November 2015. 

This article was first published in theSeptember issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, visit us online or subscribe to en for monthly updates.