07 November 2014, The Tablet

Catholic peer proposing amendments on assisted dying bill

Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill, which would enable a doctor to prescribe lethal drugs to a terminally ill patient, entered its committee stage in the House of Lords on Friday.

Baroness (Sheila) Hollins, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, proposed amendments to the bill which she said would provide some safeguards.

Baroness Hollins told The Tablet that it might seem strange that she was seeking to amend a bill that she was strongly opposed to.

“If I don’t try to make a very bad bill into a less bad bill, I will have failed in my public duty,” she said. Her amendments would require a person requesting medical assistance to die to have a psychiatric assessment, and would provide information about the number of assisted suicides and the circumstances, which would be helpful if the bill was passed with a “sunset clause” requiring it to be repealed after a five-year period.

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