Friday, July 06, 2007

Euthanasia: know the law!

Briefing: everyone must understand the frightening implications of recent legislation.

From CFNews: Two special articles in the Daily Mail of May 14th and May 15th started with startling opening paragraphs. On Monday 14th Steve Doughty, the paper's Social Affairs Correspondent wrote:
`Desperately ill patients will be able to instruct relatives to end their lives. They will have the right to appoint a family member or friend to tell doctors to withdraw the tubes feeding them when they become too ill to communicate. Critics said the new rules - slipped out by ministers during the final days of the local election campaign - amount to the legalisation of euthanasia.'

On Tuesday 15th May A.N. Wilson opened his article as follows:
'When October comes, euthanasia will have become legal in this country. If that comes as a shock to you, it came as a surprise to me too. Only when reading the report in yesterdays Daily Mail did I realise that legislation - at present passing through Parliament - is precisely a licence for families to kill their sick relations by the slow death of thirst and starvation. Astonishingly, this radical departure from the existing state of the law is being brought in under the 'negative resolution procedure'. This means that the measure will pass into law automatically, and without any debate whatsoever, unless an MP chooses to put a spanner in the works and demand such a debate.'

October 2007 will see the laws resulting from the passing of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 come into force. The implications of some of these laws will constitute an entirely new departure from what has been permitted in the past. And there is growing concern that most people just do not know what they might be involving themselves in.

Under the Act Power of Attorney will be extended to include the delegation of life and death decisions about life-prolonging treatment. Such decisions will only be permissible if the person acting as the Attorney has been given express authority by the individual concerned, to accept or reject life-sustaining treatment on their behalf, if they become incapacitated. Steve Doughty in his article of May 14th mentioned above tells us that an independent certificate provider will be asked to guarantee that the person handing over life and death powers is not doing so under duress, or under the influence of someone who wishes to take advantage of them. He also says that 'the Office of the Public Guardian is expected to publish full guidance for those handing over power of attorney before the laws come into force'.

A.N. Wilson, in his above-mentioned article, says that 'hospital patients will be handed forms that give them two options about what is called 'life-sustaining treatment...' Option A gives the attorney authority to give or refuse consent to life-sustaining treatment, whereas Option B says that the attorney should not be given such powers.'

Elspeth Chowdharay-Best the Hon. Secretary of ALERT, a group that has long campaigned against the legalisation of euthanasia, has said that with these changes we will have euthanasia and it is not clear enough to people who might become involved. She said: 'People do not realise that they are condemning themselves to die of thirst. There are people who do not want to prolong their lives, but they do not realise that this law will mean they will spend 12 or 13 days dying in great pain. By the time they are being denied water and food, they will be too drugged to complain. . .The regulations should be made absolutely clear and they should tell people: if you give someone the power to stop life-sustaining treatment, you will be refused even a drop of water. People who do this should how what it is like to die of thirst.' [Crux]

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen