24.07.2021 Euthanasia Bill Rejected by Justice Committee

Hope Ireland welcomes the Justice Committee’s rejection of euthanasia bill

The Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) Committee on Justice has refused to advance the “Dying with Dignity Bill” 2020. A special oireachtas committee may now examine the whole area of so-called “Assisted Dying”.
This victory will be welcomed by many patients, older people, people with disabilities, mental health experts, and medical professionals.
The Bill passed Second Stage in the Dáil in October 2020, and since then the Justice Committee had been engaged in “pre-legislative scrutiny” on the bill, in order to determine whether it should proceed to committee stage.

Advocates against euthanasia and assisted suicide reminded the Committee that the World Medical Association is firmly opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide, and no professional medical body in Ireland supports a change to the law in this area

This bill posed a threat to the right to life of certain categories of people, with the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission raising their concerns with the Committee.

In its report, the Committee noted that:

  • Nearly all medical stakeholders (i.e. professional medical bodies in the areas of palliative care and mental health) were against the Bill. A majority of individual medical submissions were also against the Bill.
  • A point that was “repeated frequently throughout submissions in all categories was concern that this Bill could result in abuse of the sick and vulnerable, who may perceive themselves to be a burden on their family and feel pressured into opting for assisted dying.

  • In some submissions “elderly people expressed their personal dismay, as they felt that after working hard all of their lives, the prospect of this Bill being passed made them feel as if society was demonstrating that they were of little value

It is not compassionate healthcare to remove the protection of the law from older people, people with terminal illnesses, and people with disabilities, who may feel pressured to end their lives for fear of being a burden.

Politicians should take note of the significant opposition this bill has generated from a diverse cohort of Irish society – patients, older people, people with disabilities, mental health experts, and medical professionals.
The Government should be assisting people to live, not assisting them to die.

Post a comment