23 Jul, 15 | by Iain Brassington
Long-term readers of this blog will know that, every now and then, I have a look at the CMF’s blog. This is largely because of my interest in the ethics of assisted dying, and the blog is actually a pretty good way into developments on the other side of the lines. There is rarely, if ever, anything new produced that’d move the argument on – but then, those of us who’re sympathetic to legalisation really aren’t doing any better. It’s become rather a sterile debate.
I do tend to blank out the apologetics; bet every now and again, something catches my eye: a part of this recent post, about the latest attempt to introduce an assisted dying Bill into Parliament, is one such. There’s a part where Peter Saunders claims that the Sermon on the Mount moved away from a literal take on the prohibition of murder to something more in keeping with the spirit of the law. This, though, prompts a question for me: why can’t we accommodate a person’s desire to die within the general law against killing? Might that desire mean that assistance is properly described as something other than murder? It is tempting to infer from what Saunders says elsewhere that he is at least not too worried about some forms of intentional killing: writing about the Kermit Gosnell story a couple of years ago, his headline noted that Gosnell may face the death penalty – but the body text did not mention that at all, let alone take a position on it. Yet if all deliberate killing is so straightforwardly wrong, we might expect that killing at least to be noted. If deliberate killing by means of the death penalty doesn’t raise a peep of objection, then we might wonder why assisting in someone’s death at that person’s behest is more of a worry.
Saunders does have an answer to this query, though: more…