Former Archbishop of Canterbury says assisted dying is ‘a great act of love’

Lord Carey said it would be “an act of great generosity, kindness and human love” to help someone end their suffering if they choose to do so.

His views were set out in a submission to the Commons Health and Social Care Committee’s assisted dying inquiry.

He wrote: “It is profoundly Christian to do all we can to ensure nobody suffers against their wishes. Some people believe they will find meaning in their own suffering in their final months and weeks of life. I respect that, but it cannot be justified to expect others to share that belief.”

He said the Bible “contributes nothing directly to this debate” and that nothing in Christian teaching addresses the problem posed by the advancement of modern medicine.

The Daily Express Give Us Our Last Rights crusade is backing calls for a change in the law to allow adults who are terminally ill with less than six months to live to end their lives with medical assistance.

Lord Carey, 87, told MPs that in such cases assisted dying could “properly be understood as merely hastening death, not causing it”.

He explained: “It confirms that the person is not choosing between care and death but between two types of dying.

“The law cannot seek to prevent all suffering, instead it must strike a balance between a person’s desire to make autonomous decisions about the timing and manner of their death; and a framework that provides the appropriate safeguards for people who may be at risk of abuse.”

Such laws already exist in Australia and New Zealand, he said.

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, chair of the Religious Alliance for Dignity in Dying, said: “Lord Carey speaks for a huge number of people who have religious faith…I have sat by the bedside of dying people in their final hours and seen many spend their last moments in agony, despite receiving excellent palliative care. There is no sanctity in suffering, nothing holy about agony.”

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