Jewish, Catholic and Anglican leaders in the UK have issued a joint appeal to parliamentarians to reject a bill that would legalize assisted suicide.
In a letter dated October 19, the three religious leaders convey their “profound disquiet” over the Assisted Dying Bill, a private members’ which had its second reading in the UK parliament’s upper house on Friday.
Put forward in the House of Lords in May, the act would “enable adults who are terminally ill to be provided at their request with specified assistance to end their own life.”
The three leaders – Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and Archbishop Justin Welby – expressed concern with “the risks and dangers entailed in the provisions of the bill and the ‘real-life’ practical inadequacies of the proposed safeguards.”
While they acknowledged that the bill seeks to alleviate suffering, a “motivation we share wholeheartedly,” they disagreed “on the means advanced to address this very real concern.”
“By the faiths we profess, we hold every human life to be a precious gift of the Creator, to be upheld and protected,” they wrote. “All people of faith, and those of none, can share our concern that the common good is not served by policies or actions that would place very many vulnerable people in more vulnerable positions.”
They proposed instead to make high-quality palliative care available to everyone.
“We appeal to people of whatever faith or belief to join us through our common bond of humanity in caring for the most vulnerable people within our society,” they said.
They added: “We believe that the aim of a compassionate society should be assisted living rather than an acceptance of assisted suicide.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)