The Pope can’t fight the assisted suicide Bill alone – the disabled must take to the streets

Cristina Odone for The Telegraph writes: “The Pope’s new ambassador to Britain, the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Antonio Mennini, has criticised the assisted dying Bill that Lord Falconer is trying to push through Parliament. The Bill, argues the Nuncio, will allow the young and healthy to bully the elderly and disabled into doing the convenient thing. Limited resources – both in the NHS and in many families —  mean that the elderly and the disabled are made to feel “less deserving” of medical help and family support. The legalisation of assisted suicide will prompt frail individuals who “could” hasten their deaths to feel they “should”.

Yet although Baroness Campbell, the disabled peer, has voiced her concern about Lord Falconer’s proposal, few disability campaigners have joined her fight. While cuts to disability benefits brought out thousands of wheelchair-bound protesters, Lord Falconer’s Bill has roused little opposition. Perhaps the disabled lobby cannot imagine that the same people who loudly cheered them for embarrassing the Coalition in 2012 could ever see them as dispensable. Baroness Campbell, though, is under no such illusion:

At the moment they say they want assisted suicide for people who are terminally ill, but for how long will that last, and who decides what is terminal? If terminal illness, why not chronic and progressive conditions?  And, if chronic and progressive conditions, why not seriously disabled people? I am already on the list. Lord Falconer himself conceded three years ago that assisted suicide should not be offered to disabled people “at this point in time”.

To those who claim that this “slippery slope argument” does not hold, I would say one word: Belgium. Last February, the Belgians voted to extend assisted suicide to children.

Let Lord Falconer and his “Dignity in Dying” comrades-in-arms win this battle, and the disabled will lose their right to life. As for the able-bodied survivors, they will be helping our children to commit suicide.

Surely, it’s time for the disabled lobby to bring traffic outside Parliament to a standstill as, wheel-chair bound, they protest Lord Falconer’s Bill? Or are they going to let Baroness Campbell and the Pope’s man fight for them?” (

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