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Former Archbishop of Canterbury Speaks Out against Assisted Suicide

  • Amanda Casanova Contributor
  • Published Sep 16, 2021
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Speaks Out against Assisted Suicide

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams of Oystermouth says he does not support assisted suicide.

Williams' comments come as parliamentarians consider changing the law to allow assisted suicide, The Christian Post reports. Previously, lawmakers rejected a proposal in 2015 regarding the policy.

In his statement, Williams said he didn't see "any new facts (that) have emerged in recent years that would justify the changes envisaged.

"The arguments remain essentially the same," he said.

Williams also added that he opposes the legalization of the controversial measure "on religious principle."

Among some concerns about the change are the burden and pressure the option would place on gravely ill patients "which may (very understandably) come from overstrained families as well as overstretched medical systems."

Determining who would be eligible for assisted suicide and which cases would be approved could also be difficult, Williams said.

"There are immensely complicated questions around how the law is to identify conditions that would 'justify' medical intervention that has the direct and intended consequence of ending life," he said. "Many disability groups also have strong views on this set of problems."

In a recent Zoom conference, U.S., Canadian and Belgian doctors urged British politicians to reject the proposed bill.

In one testimony, a U.S. doctor told British politicians that there have been many failures to the "Death with Dignity" Act. The doctor noted that death sometimes took days for patients. The doctor also shared a case in which a man woke up from a coma despite being given drugs and another alarming case in which a nurse reportedly "put a plastic bag over the head of the patient because the patient wouldn't die."

"The failures are brutal," said Dr. Brick Lantz, an Oregon doctor and the Oregon representative for the American Academy of Medical Ethics.

According to a recent YouGov poll, about one-third of MPs support changing the law to allow assisted suicide.

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Gorodenkoff

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.