01 August 2018, The Tablet

Ending medical treatment: Call it by its proper name


Starving someone to death is not unlawful homicide, according to the United Kingdom Supreme Court, provided it is agreed in advance by doctors and family. This is such an alarming development of the law on a fundamental question of life and death that it ought surely to have been referred to Parliament. Then the whole nation could have taken part in the discussion, and had a say in the outcome through their MPs. The result may have been very different – people usually have a sound instinct about such things. So do popes – in 2004 Pope St John Paul II described what the Supreme Court has now agreed to as “euthanasia by omission”.

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