As he leads demands to relax assisted dying regulations, ex-MP Frank Field announces he is near death.
Despite being unable to debate the topic as his own life draws to a conclusion, terminally ill former MP Frank Field has spearheaded demands to loosen assisted dying legislation.
The 79-year-old peer had just spent time in a hospice, and his condition prevented him from joining more than 130 other speakers in the House of Lords to debate the Assisted Dying Bill.
However, Lord Field of Birkenhead, a former minister, stated his decision to change his views was influenced by the death of an MP friend from cancer.
The Bill, tabled by independent peer Baroness Meacher, would give patients of sound mind, with six months or less left to live, the right to die by taking life-ending medication.
It received an unopposed second reading in the upper house, as is customary for private member’s bills, and will be subjected to further review at a later date.
Despite the fact that several colleagues spoke out against the ideas, efforts to derail the Bill usually come to the fore during committee and report.
A reform in the law, according to campaigners, would offer persons towards the end of their life more control over how and when they die.
Many religious leaders, among others, are opposed to it, claiming that it will expose vulnerable people to undue pressure.
“Our colleague Lord Field of Birkenhead, who is dying, asked me to read out a short remark,” Lady Meacher said at the start of the debate.
“I’ve just spent a short while in a hospice and I’m not healthy enough to participate in today’s debate,” Lord Field told peers. If I had been, I would have argued vehemently for the second reading.
“I altered my mind about assisted dying after a cancer-stricken MP asked to go early before the full horrific effects set in, but was rejected.” One of the most common objections to the Bill is that it is baseless. Some believe that the culture would shift and that people would be pressured to commit suicide.
“The number of assisted deaths in the United States and Australia remains very low, under 1%, and a former supreme court justice in Victoria, Australia, when asked about family pressure, stated it simply hasn’t been an issue.” I’m hoping the House will do so.” The summary comes to an end.”