Euthanasia Law Could Create Culture of Death, Says Cardinal

Article excerpt

One of Britain's most prominent churchmen yesterday attacked proposed law reforms which he claimed could lead to the "nightmarish" prospect of non-voluntary euthanasia.

Cardinal Thomas Winning, head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, made the attack in a fierce criticism of draft legislation governing the way in which the affairs of incapable adults should be handled.

His attack was directed against reforms proposed for Scotland, but Cardinal Winning said he has also expressed his concerns to the Lord Chancellor over similar draft legislation proposed for England and Wales.

The Scottish bill, the Incapable Adults Bill (Scotland), was drafted by the Scottish Law Commission in 1995 to update property and financial rules governing the affairs of adults who were incapable of conducting their own affairs.

But the Cardinal said the draft included a "nightmarish" section on medical treatment, care and research which he claimed could allow the practice of non-voluntary euthanasia on incapable adults.

The proposals included an extension that would allow the "intentional killing", by dehydration or starving, of incapable people - not only those in a persistent vegetative state - who were not otherwise dying. …