Call to change assisted dying law backed by Liberal Judaism

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Call to change assisted dying law backed by Liberal Judaism

Progressive movement has joined a new cross-faith initiative which is campaigning for a change in the law around assisted dying.

Stock image of a hospital bed (Credit: Photo by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash)
Stock image of a hospital bed (Credit: Photo by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash)

Liberal Judaism has joined an alliance of religious groups calling for a change in the law on assisted dying.

A private members bill was introduced to the House of Lords on assisted dying by Baroness Meacher, which could see the legislation debated for the first time in five years.

The proposed bill would allow mentally sound adults who are in the last months of a terminal illness to request an assisted death with the permission of two doctors and a High Court judge. Currently, those assisting others to die can face up to fourteen years in prison.

Rabbi Charley Baginsky, Liberal Judaism’s chief executive, said the movement had joined the new Religious Alliance for Dignity in Dying because it had a history of “speaking up for much-needed liberal reforms with compassion at their heart.”

“Much like votes for women or equal marriage – rights which now seem unchallengeable – assisted dying is a right we are proud to champion for people nearing the end of their life,” she said.

Fellow Liberal rabbi, Danny Rich, added his call for people to be given what he called “true choice and control at the end of life.”

“Twenty-seven years ago my own great uncle, suffering with inoperable cancer, ended his own life with help from a relative,” he said.

“That dying people are still forced to contemplate dying by suicide as an alternative to a traumatic or prolonged death by their disease is shameful.”

According to a YouGov poll of more than 5,000 adults published on Sunday, 53 percent of people from faith backgrounds believe their leaders should not have lobbied politicians to prevent them from changing the law on assisted dying in 2015.

This compared to 70 percent of non-religious people who said it was wrong for faith leaders to have lobbied against law changes.

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