08 April 2010

In a recent interview with The Catholic Herald, Conservative candidate for British Prime Minister, David Cameron, began to stake out his primary campaign issues: lowering the limit on abortion from 24 weeks to 20-22; allowing religious schools to teach sex education the way they want to; and stopping assisted suicide. Cameron’s being accused of running a “U.S.-style campaign,” and pandering for the religious voteWrites Anglican priest, George Pitcher, at theTelegraph, ascribing such views to purely religious motivations discounts non-believers who support Cameron’s positions and, “more dangerously, it suggests that the debate over abortion limits and euthanasia is a simple Religion versus Secularism fight. I, for one, firmly believe that there is no valid political, medical, legal, social or cultural case that can be made for assisted suicide and euthanasia, before we get to the religious objections (though, again, faith informs everything). Faith has clearly informed British politics since the summer when multiple sclerosis patient Debbie Purdy won a case that allows her husband, Omar, to accompany her to Switzerland for assisted suicide should her suffering become unbearable. A battle has raged in Britain over how to legislate end of life rights with the Catholic church, among others, strongly opposing Purdy’s position. Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions was given the thankless job of rewriting the existing laws. In February two prominent authors got into the act: acid-tongued Martin Amis created a media frenzy by calling for “euthanasia booths” on every corner to address the impending “silver tsunami”; and Sir Terry Pratchett, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimers, vocally supported the legalization of assisted suicide saying he looked forward to one day, brandy in hand, greeting death. But Cameron can’t hang his campaign on assisted suicide alone: A January poll shows that 73% of Brits don’t think family members should be prosecuted for assisting their loved one to end their lives. Or can he? The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is urging their international supporters to vote according to this single issue.