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Quotes about Suicide and Assisted Suicide

“There is the myth that suicidal thoughts in sick and disabled people should be managed differently from similar thoughts in people who are not sick and disabled. People who choose to end their lives usually do so because of a perception that they are alone and that no one cares about them, because of a loss of meaning and purpose or because they perceive their lives to be a burden on others. It is much more about the person than the disease.

“People who are suicidal need love, support, care and professional help, not for us to accede to their requests. It is utterly illogical to offer a glass of barbiturate to someone who is terminally ill whilst offering protection and care to a person equally suicidal with a mental illness.” – Dr Peter Saunders, Care Not Killing, UK.

Dr Peter Saunders, Care Not Killing, UK

On 11 September the UK Parliament voted 330 -118 against legalising assisted suicide. Here are some quotes from the debate:

“While it is not a crime in the UK for someone to take his or her own life, we recognise that it is a tragedy and we, rightly, do all that we can to prevent suicide. The assisted dying bill requires us to turn this stance on its head, not merely legitimising suicide, but actively supporting it. We are asked to sanction doctors participating in individuals taking steps to end their lives. This is a change of monumental proportions both in the law and in the role of doctors; it is little wonder that it is opposed by the medical profession.” – Justin Welby, The Guardian
“We are talking about assisted suicide, and there is no essential right for people to demand of the state that it assists them with their suicide. In fact, it is the policy of governments to reduce the number of suicides, and normally it is our moral duty to discourage suicide.”- John Pugh, UK MP

“If there is a right to die, why is it constrained by a six-month time period? If there is a right to die, why is it constrained simply by the fact of having a terminal illness?

“The law has always regarded it as wrong to assist in someone’s suicide because, in the end, we think that suicide is wrong, even if we think that it should not be a criminal offence. That is why we should take the very greatest care before taking this fundamentally different step.” – Nick Herbert, UK MP

Read more excerpts from the Parliamentary debate here.

“The experience of pioneering countries has led me to conclude that a law permitting assisted dying in the long run undermines a society’s resolve to prevent suicide in particular, and its respect for human life as an intrinsic value in general.“



Prof Theo Boer

Member for 9 years reviewing 4000 cases, Dutch Regional Euthanasia Review Committee