UK: People can travel for assisted suicide, but not the holidays
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LONDON, England, November 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Despite not being allowed to leave England for the holidays as part of new lockdown measures to “to protect the NHS and save lives,” residents are still permitted to travel abroad for assisted suicide.
The revelation came yesterday as members of parliament in the United Kingdom questioned Health Secretary Matt Hancock on the implications of the travel ban.
Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell asked Hancock to clarify “the impact of new coronavirus regulations on the ability of terminally ill adults to travel abroad for an assisted death.”
Hancock gave a lengthy reply, explaining that despite the new lockdown restrictions that prohibit travel unless for a reasonable excuse, one could still travel abroad to die. He said “traveling abroad for the purpose of assisted dying is a reasonable excuse, so anyone doing so would not be breaking the law.”
The issue was raised in parliament due to a recent case in which a 45-year-old woman accelerated her plans to travel to Switzerland to die before she would be prevented from leaving England in the impending lockdown.
Under the U.K. Suicide Act 1961, it remains a crime to help or encourage anyone to take their own life, but people are legally allowed to travel abroad for assisted suicide in places such as Switzerland’s Dignitas centers.
Mitchell responded to Hancock, saying the new lockdown could “deter anyone else from traveling to Switzerland for an assisted death. That will undoubtedly cause many more Britons to suffer as they die due to a lack of a safeguarded law here in the UK.”
Fiona Bruce, a Christian MP, delivered a stern response, highlighting the discrepancy between strict lockdowns for health purposes, yet permitting travel for the purpose of suicide.
“At this time, when the whole country is making huge sacrifices to protect life, at a time of exceptionally high levels of physical and mental stress, and when many people may feel very vulnerable, does the Minister understand and accept the views of many, including in this House, that it would be completely inappropriate — indeed, insensitive — of this Parliament to go anywhere near considering making access to any form of suicide easier?”
Conservative journalist and commentator Peter Hitchens took to Twitter to point out the contradictory nature of Hancock’s logic.
“I am really struggling with this statement by Hancock. ‘Traveling abroad for the purpose of assisted dying is a reasonable excuse and so anyone doing so would not be breaking the law.’ Yet if I, aged 69, am prepared to ‘risk’ my own death by living normally, that’s not allowed,” he wrote.
I am really struggling with this statement by Hancock: ''Travelling abroad for the purpose of assisted dying is a reasonable excuse and so anyone doing so would not be breaking the law."Yet if I, aged 69, am prepared to *risk* my own death by living normally, that's not allowed.— Peter Hitchens (@ClarkeMicah) November 5, 2020
Hitchens was making reference to new lockdown laws that place considerable infringements upon personal and religious liberty, having purportedly been drawn up to care for public health by preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The introduction to the law reads, “These Regulations are made in response to the serious and imminent threat to public health which is posed by the incidence and spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) in England.”
The law stipulates, “No person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.” Possible exemptions to the law are then listed, including “medical need,” which refers specifically to positive medical intervention.
Currently, foreign travel is prohibited for leisure and permitted only for “work, education or other legally permitted reasons.”
Numerous Twitter users expressed support for Hitchens, commenting on the double standards being applied, with one person calling it “Satanic.”
“It goes beyond all normal human decency,” the user added. “It is literally inhuman/inhumane. You can be released to die as a reasonable excuse to leave the country but not to travel to an isolated spot, to rest & relax!”
Another individual called the permission to travel abroad for suicide a “death-cult.”