Byline: ANASTASIA STEPHENS
IN THE HOT SEAT
Q mercy killing Bill going through the House of Lords aims to help the terminally ill end their lives. If successful, wouldn't this be a victory for compassion and common sense?
A We all want to help people through suffering but it should be in positive ways such as through hospices and palliative care, not through a negative quick fix. Seriously ill people often struggle with depression: one day they may want to die, another they find new hope. Is it better to help a person find hope or take their life because they're going through a difficult patch?
A disabled person told me that people often say, "I can't bear to see him suffer" and they mean just that: death is often to save the watcher from suffering.
QIf somebody is seriously ill and wants help to end their life, wouldn't it be a kindness to assist them?
For the sake of a tiny number of people who would not be able to kill themselves, thousands of ill or disabled people would be frightened or put at risk. Disability rights groups worldwide have pointed out the danger of the slippery slope from voluntary to nonvoluntary euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia may also encourage terminally-ill people to think that they'd be better off dead because of the suffering they are causing others.
QWhy keep someone alive who has no quality of life?
suggests that everyone should be kept alive for as long as possible by every means. People are entitled to all the pain relief they need even if, as a side effect, it may shorten their life. Doctors may also withdraw treatment which is ineffective or too burdensome for the patient. But deliberate killing is always wrong and the worst solution.
QIs The ProLife Alliance simply a front for religious groups who want to impose their ideas on society?
we are a political party not a religious group. We get no backing from any charity or religious body. A pro-life atheist once told me he thought it was wrong to abort tiny human beings.
Since he didn't believe in an after life, he felt you rob them of their only chance of life. Pro-life issues are a matter of basic civil rights for all human beings. It's the pro-abortionists who are inflicting their agenda on unborn babies - to the extent of 200,000 lives taken every year.
QLegal abortion has saved countless women from childbirth when they aren't emotionally or financially ready.
How could it help anyone to outlaw abortion?
do not blame or condemn women who have had an abortion. However, abortion is disastrous for women. There is irrefutable evidence in studies of an increased incidence of suicide, need for psychiatric help, infertility and premature birth of later children. That's not to mention the enormous mental and sometimes physical suffering. There is also evidence that if a woman aborts her first pregnancy she is more likely to develop breast cancer 20 years later.
QWould you deny abortion to a young girl who had been raped?
is a horrible crime and it's not helpful to the woman to add the further violence of abortion.
Psychologically it is far healthier for her to see herself as a heroine rather than a victim and save her innocent baby's life, handing it over to a loving adoptive couple if she wants. In real life, pregnancy is rare after a rape: women tend to love their babies however conceived.
QSurely abortion is the correct way forward when a scan shows that a child will be malformed?
a child is malformed it's likely to miscarry naturally which is sad but this does not carry the emotional and physical risks of deliberate abortion.
The handicapped are simply ordinary people who need and are entitled to a bit more help. Last year, Reverend Joanne Jepson highlighted the horrors of aborting babies ready to be born naturally for nothing worse than an operable cleft palate. …